DENGUE SWEEPS ACROSS CENTRAL AMERICA; FEW CASES IN BELIZE; GOVERNMENT PLANS SPRAY PROGRAM IN CAYO AND STANN CREEK
Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have reported serious outbreaks of dengue fever. Few cases have yet been reported in Belize, but the country is as risk due to cross-border traffic from Guatemala and Honduras. Belize, working with Mexico, has launched a massive mosquito spraying program IN Cayo and Stann Creek districts which, it is hoped, will stop the spread of disease.
There are two basic types of dengue: classical dengue causes mainly flu-like symptoms. Hemorrhagic dengue is more serious and can be fatal. So far this year, Honduras has had more than 3,000 cases of classical dengue and nearly 400 cases of hemmorrhagic fever, with at least 11 deaths. Guatemala has reported more than 1,500 cases of classical dengue and several cases of hemorrhagic fever. El Salvador has reported nine deaths from dengue and an overall incidence rate for dengue this year through mid-July of 195 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Belize, with the help of Mexican authorities, plans to conduct spraying programs against mosquitoes in high-risk areas which include parts of Benque Viejo, Belmopan and all of Stann Creek district.
There is at present no vaccine or other preventative for dengue, which is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Treatment of classical dengue usually involves bed rest and taking non-aspirin pain relievers (aspirin can exacerbate internal bleeding associated with dengue). For hemorrhagic dengue, hospitalization may be necessary.