An exponential increase in dengue fever cases has prompted a health alert across Costa Rica in 2023. According to data from the Health Ministry, the country has recorded 9,182 more cases this year compared to the total for entire 2022.
The accumulated statistics reveal an alarming 16,667 dengue infections reported so far in 2023, versus just 7,485 cases for all of the previous year.
Examining the data further illustrates the dramatic rise – in 2020 there were 10,056 cases, dropping to 5,081 in 2021, before rising again to 7,485 in 2022. This year’s figures are the highest in the past four years.
Additionally concerning is the emergence of five cases of severe dengue in 2023 after being absent last year. The National Children’s Hospital has also reported seven child hospitalizations related to the disease, all exhibiting dangerous warning signs.
“There are cases of acute dengue that can be monitored as outpatients, while other patients with alarm signs may face a potentially fatal condition,” explained Marcela Hernández of the Children’s Hospital.
The exponential growth in cases over the past four months prompted Costa Rica to declare a health alert on September 6th.
Alarming sign of cases of acute dengue may show symptoms like abdominal pain, vomiting, dehydration, bleeding manifestations, and dangerously low platelet counts.
“If a patient exhibits these symptoms, hospitalization is advisable as more severe symptoms can develop,” said Hernandez.
The seven child hospitalizations contrast sharply with zero such admissions in 2022. Specialists say most cases can still be managed at clinics or health centers, with hospitalizations remaining relatively low.
However, self-medication is never recommended. Individuals suspecting dengue should immediately seek proper medical attention.
Community assistance is also vital to reduce infections, according to Health Minister Mary Munive. She urged collaborative efforts between her ministry and the public to combat dengue effectively.
Munive stressed the need for vigilance in eliminating mosquito breeding areas in homes and instilling preventative habits in children.
With proactive measures, Costa Rica hopes to curtail the alarming spike in dengue. But the public is cautioned to remain alert and follow prevention guidelines diligently as the country tackles this concerning health threat.