Friday, March 13, 2009

Peru registers 5,000 cases of dengue fever in past two months

Xiong Tong

Peru registered 5,000 cases of dengue fever during January and February, which has become a public health problem, Health Minister Oscar Ugarte said on Monday.

Ugarte told the press that 13,500 people were infected last year.

He announced the launching of a campaign against dengue designed to raise public awareness of the importance of clearing stagnant water or hidden water deposits where the Aedes egypti mosquito, a dengue carrier, breeds.

"We have an enormous responsibility to combat dengue because it is lethal ... a high social cost on human lives," Ugarte said.

He said combating dengue was easy. Daily actions were needed to avoid water stagnating in topless containers, and replacing water in flowerpots with humid sand both at home and at public places.

Ugarte also called on Peruvians to clear roofs or yards of tires, empty bottles or boxes where rainwater can accumulate.

"It is a national campaign. If we do not take measures now, we will have an epidemic," he said.

I posted about the dengue outbreak in Bolivia in January. Now some surprising numbers are coming out of Peru on dengue. If you are planning travel to the eastern side of the Andes, you better study up on the symptoms and treatment of dengue fever. Better yet, wait until winter (June-Sept) before heading into these areas.

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