With the rainy season well under way, dengue – a mosquito-borne illness Costa Rica suffered an outbreak of last year – is on health authorities’ and Costa Ricans’ minds. So far this year, there have been 52% fewer cases of dengue reported than during the same period in 2005, according to Teresita Solano, Public Health Ministry Director of Epidemic Vigilance.
This decrease can be attributed to a reduction in the number of “Aedes Aegypti” mosquitoes, which is partly a result of citizens taking action to eliminate spaces where mosquitoes breed, Solano said.
“The fewer mosquitos there are, the fewer cases of dengue. The population has responded, and we’ve seen a decrease, but it’s still not sufficient,” Solano said, adding that more citizens should listen to the ministry’s warnings to get rid of standing water, where mosquitoes lay eggs, near their homes.
Between January and June of this year, there were 4,595 cases of dengue registered, 52% less than the 9,590 cases registered during the same period last year, according to the wire service ACAN-EFE. About 20,000 cases of dengue were reported in Costa Rica last year.
Those who have had dengue once are at risk for contracting it again in its potentially fatal, hemorrhagic form, and should be extra cautious, Solano said, adding that the rainiest part of the year is still to come. One person died of hemorrhagic dengue last year (TT, Aug. 26, 2005).