Thursday, September 06, 2007

Dengue outbreak forces Costa Rica to declare state of emergency

(Xinhua News) - The Costa Rican government declared a state of emergency on Wednesday as dengue fever cases spread nationwide and took the life of an eight-month baby.

Reported dengue fever cases topped 10,000 by August this year, while there were only 11,000 cases during 2006, according to statistics released by the Costa Rican health ministry.

Meanwhile, cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), a more virulent form of the dengue virus infection, had reached 169 by August, compared with the 72 cases recorded throughout 2006.

A special fund of 480,000 U.S. dollars has been set aside for preventive efforts against the disease, including garbage and urban wasteland treatment, as well as work to spray insecticide in residential areas to fight mosquitoes and clean up sewers to prevent seepage, said Health Minister Maria Luisa Avila.

More medical staffs will join health checkups in residential areas, and experts will be sent to Limon, a province bordering the Caribbean Sea that has 35 percent of the dengue fever cases, she said.

This year's carnival in Limon will also be canceled due to the situation, she added.

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