Honduras Declares Emergency After Dengue Fever Kills 16, Sickens 12,000

Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 03:50 PM

By Joel Himelfarb

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Honduras has declared a state of emergency after an outbreak of dengue fever which has killed 16 people so far this year, the BBC reported Tuesday.

More than 12,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease, which is spread by mosquitos and causes high fever and joint pains.

The Honduran government has promised to step up its fight against the mosquitoes which spread dengue fever. Health Minister Salvador Pineda said more than half of that nation’s municipalities have registered cases of the infection this year.

The worst outbreak of dengue in Honduras occurred in 2010, when 83 people died.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that the incidence of dengue has increased 30-fold over the last 50 years.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the illness is characterized by a high fever accompanied by problems such as severe headaches; severe eye pain; muscle or bone pain; a rash; mild bleeding; and a low white cell count.

As body temperature declines over a three- to seven-day period, the CDC urges people to go immediately to the emergency room or the closest health-care provider if they experience problems such as bleeding from the nose and gums; severe abdominal pain or persistent vomiting; vomiting of blood; black stool; red spots or patches on the skin; or difficulty breathing.

The CDC says that there is no specific medication for treatment of a dengue infection. People who think they may have the disease should use pain relievers with acetaminophen “and avoid those containing ibuprofen, Naproxen, aspirin or aspirin containing drugs,” the agency says.

According to the CDC’s dengue epidemiology homepage, there have been few cases in the continental United States, with the last reported outbreak occurring in south Texas in 2005. Dengue has been a particular challenge in Puerto Rico, where outbreaks have been reported for close to a century. The most recent island-wide epidemic was in 2007 when more than 10,000 cases were diagnosed.



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