Costa Rica has registered a strong increase in cases of dengue so far in the current rainy season, with 70% more infections than in the same period last year, the Ministry of Health reported Friday.

Most people with dengue fever can get better just by drinking enough. However, a small number of people get dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome. These are medical emergencies and can kill a person if they do not get medical treatment.

As of June 2019, 1,666 cases of dengue were registered, compared to 975 in the same period of 2018, the ministry said in a statement.

The information was released at a time when the country is entering a season of increased rainfall, which favors the spread of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the transmitter of the disease.

“We are entering the most complicated time of the year, where the increase in rainfall raises cases (of dengue), which is why our constant call for citizens to be vigilant in the elimination of breeding sites,” said Rodrigo Marín, Director of Surveillance at the Ministry of Health.

The mosquito transmitting dengue reproduces in stagnant water tanks, so health authorities ask to avoid storing tires or plates under the plants, where water accumulates.

Dengue fever is a disease that causes high fever, rash, and muscle and joint pains.

  • Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection.
  • The infection causes a flu-like illness and occasionally develops into a potentially lethal complication called severe dengue.
  • The global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in recent decades. About half of the world’s population is now at risk.
  • Dengue is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide, mostly in urban and semi-urban areas.
  • Severe dengue is a leading cause of serious illness and death among children in some Asian and Latin American countries.
  • There is no specific treatment for dengue / severe dengue, but early detection and access to proper medical care lowers fatality rates below 1%.
  • Dengue prevention and control depends on effective vector control measures.
Dengue virus is transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti and, to a lesser extent, Ae. albopictus. This mosquito also transmits chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika infection.

The mosquito that serves as a vector of the disease also transmits Zika and Chikungunya, which recently caused a plague in Latin America.

Costa Rica had the lowest number of dengue infections in 2018 in the last 20 years, with 2,735 cases in total.