Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dengue keeps spreading on Costa Rica's Pacific

Dengue MosquitoBy Nick Wilkinson
Tico Times Staff

An outbreak of dengue in the central Pacific Costa Rican town of Parrita continues to spread.

In the past two weeks, reported cases have jumped from 223 to 398, with 17 people requiring hospitalization. One case of hemorrhagic dengue has been reported thus far.

The Social Security System, Health Ministry and private enterprise have teamed up to educate residents, arm them with repellant and drain containers holding standing water, but so far they haven't managed to put the brakes on the illness' spread.

Dr. Edgar Carrillo of the Max TerĂ¡n Vals Hospital in nearby Quepos said clinical analysis of the individual cases is still being conducted to try to understand the outbreak better. He said it could be the spread of a new kind of dengueserotype 3 – one the country hasn't seen before.

According to the daily La Nacion, serotype 3 entered the country in December.

The most affected areas in Parrita are Barrio La Inmaculada, Bella Vista Boca Vieja, Barrio Los Angeles, la Pascua, El Cocal Paquita and Naranjito, according to a press release by the Social Security System.

While Parrita's dengue numbers are growing, the Health Ministry put out a press release stating that nationwide cases have declined precipitously over the last several years.

Dengue, whose symptoms are fever, vomiting and muscle pain, has no cure aside from bed rest. Hemorrhagic dengue, on the other hand, is a strain of the virus that causes bruising and bleeding from the nose, gums and other orifices that can be fatal.

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