The emergence of 200 cases of dengue fever in the past three weeks in Guanacaste has the Ministry of Health asking residents to be on alert, especially in the areas of Liberia, Santa Cruz, Abangares, Nicoya and Carillo, where most of the infections have occurred.
Photo credit: US Department of Agriculture
Mary Ethel Trejos, Director of Health Surveillance, said that the highest number of cases were in Santa Cruz, where three weeks ago there were 55 cases, and just last week, 75 more were detected. The virus is spread by the aedes aegypti mosquito.
In Liberia, there were 24 cases reported as of three weeks ago. That number has now grown to 40. Nicoya also reports 40 cases of infection, followed by Abangares with 17 and Carrillo with 11.
“We are working with an integrated management strategy in the affected areas, in coordination with (awareness and outreach), to eliminate the (mosquitos’) breeding sites and thus control the mosquito infestation rates and reduce the occurrence (of dengue infection),” said Trejos.
Trejos also said that authorities are working on informational campaigns in affected communities, asking residents to get involved in the eradication of breeding sites, as well as understanding the symptoms of dengue infection.
Most of the reported infections have not been serious, though 34 cases were described as “severe,” requiring admittance to the hospital. The severe cases occurred in Carrillo, Santa Cruz, and Liberia.
Besides the Guanacaste cases, infections have also been reported in Puntarenas, Limon, Pococí, Sarapiqui and San Pablo de Heredia.
Mosquito hatcheries can be found anywhere there is standing water, including used tires and even flowerpots. Adult mosquitos are usually eliminated by fumigation.
So far this week, the Ministry of Health has confirmed 505 infections of the dengue virus across the country. There have been just over 15,000 people infected so far this year.