Dengue Fever Strikes Honduras

Worst Outbreak in 50 Years, Over 28,000 Affected

BY ALLISON KOZICHAROW; EDITED BY BERNICE BORN

An eruption of dengue fever has reached epidemic proportions in Honduras. Health officials there have declared the crisis a national emergency.

 

An eruption of dengue fever has reached epidemic proportions in Honduras.

According to CNN, hospitals in La Paz are so overwhelmed that patients are spilling over into corridors and even a nearby chapel, while planned operations have been postponed. The Honduran Ministry of Health reports that of the 32 public hospitals in the country, 26 have been completely overwhelmed. Children constitute the majority of the 50+ deaths reported so far.

 

The Honduran government has launched a widespread fumigation program in homes and public buildings in order to destroy the breeding grounds of the mosquitoes carrying the disease. However, the dengue epidemic may escalate sharply as the three-month rainy season begins and mosquitoes multiply in greater numbers. Further, a recent study reported in Nature Microbiology forecasts that climate change is about to boost the risk of dengue to considerably larger swaths of the world’s population.

 

WiRED’s modules examine dengue fever and explain how the illness is spread, its symptoms, diagnoses, treatments and measures of prevention.

Beginning in 2003, WiRED International established health information centers in Honduras and Nicaragua with the help of clinical psychologist Santiago Castellon, WiRED’s coordinator in Central America. WiRED offers two dengue modules, one for general audiences and the other for healthcare professionals. WiRED’s modules examine dengue fever and explain how the illness is spread, its symptoms, diagnoses, treatments and measures of prevention. WiRED continues to monitor dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika, malaria, yellow fever and chikungunya, and to reflect scientific updates in our training modules.

 

WiRED will continue to monitor and report on the progress of the dengue fever emergency in Honduras.

 

 

 

 

What is Dengue Fever?

Dengue fever is an infectious illness which presents the greatest human disease burden of any virus transmitted by mosquitoes, with nearly half of the population globally at risk. The flu-like illness is caused by four related viruses that are spread by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes — yes, the Zika mosquitoes. These mosquitoes thrive in and near human habitations, where they breed rapidly in standing water. Dengue used to be called “break bone fever” because it sometimes causes joint and muscle pain so severe that it feels as if a victim’s bones are breaking. Severe dengue is a leading cause of death for children in many Asian and Latin American countries.

How to Avoid Dengue

The best measures to prevent and control dengue and other mosquito-borne viruses on an individual and global level include the following advice:

  • Keep away from areas where mosquitoes are prevalent.
  • Wear clothing that covers the entire body.
  • Use nets, window screens, fans or air conditioning if available.
  • Get educated about insect repellents.
  • Use only repellents approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Don’t blend repellents and sunscreen.
  • Travel safely and wisely and bring a travel health kit.
  • Improve sanitation in areas of standing water.
  • Decrease carbon emissions worldwide.
  • Continue to improve the current ineffective vaccine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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