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Costa Rica dengue epidemic not slowing down in a record-breaking year

June 2, 2014

Cases of dengue virus in Costa Rica have continued to climb past the previous all-time record. This week, the total cases for the year reached 46,779, according to a report from the Health Ministry released Friday. 

Health officials last week registered 655 new cases of dengue, that is 51 more than the previous week, the Health Ministry’s director of health surveillance María Ethel Trejos said at a press conference. 

In September, the country surpassed the previous record of 37,798, which occurred in 2005. 

Out of all the cases diagnosed this year, one person died and 136 suffered from the more advanced form of the virus, also referred to as hemorrhagic dengue.

Severe bleeding, plasma leakage, respiratory distress and organ failure are all symptoms of hemorrhagic dengue, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Trejos noted that ministry officials are concerned that 1,500 cases this year have occurred in children under age 4, who are more difficult to treat.

Dengue virus appeared in Costa Rica in 1993 and has since killed 23 people. In 2007, the death toll reached eight, the country’s highest ever.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which acts as a virus carrier for dengue, breeds in stagnant water. Therefore, the country’s rainy season (May-November) usually sees the highest incidence of the virus.

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