Saturday, June 30, 2007

Dengue fever cases double in Costa Rica in first half of 2007

The number of dengue fever cases in Costa Rica has doubled to 6,870 in the first half of 2007, compared to the same period of last year, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, 69 people, including two fatalities, contracted the deadly variant of hemorrhagic dengue in the first six months of this year, only three cases short of the figure recorded in the whole of last year, according to the ministry.

Dengue fever, a viral infection spread by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, is a serious health problem in many Central American and Caribbean countries. Its symptoms include high fever, nausea, rash, backache and headache.

Most mainstream dengue cases are not fatal, but the hemorrhagic variant, which causes severe internal bleeding as blood vessels collapse, kills one in 20 of the infected.

Health Minister Maria Luisa Avila said the increase of dengue cases was mainly due to the advent of monsoon and the ubiquitous bodies of water.

The official urged people to fight dengue by stamping out mosquitoes, which reproduce in bodies of water from puddles to lakes and reservoirs.

Some 50 million people are infected with dengue each year, most of them in tropical regions.

Source: Xinhua

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