Saturday June 10 2023

Posted by BajaInsider on September 25, 2017
  • Aedes albopictus mosquitoe that carries Dengue
    Aedes albopictus mosquitoe that carries Dengue
  • Spraying for mosquitoes in La Pa
    Spraying for mosquitoes in La Pa


Every year, following the rains, it is important to clear your property of standing water and drain puddles. The cities usually issue a small packet of chemicals to sanitize tanaco (water cisterns) to prevent the spread of the disease. Dengue usually runs in 7-year cycles. In recent years, has become a major international public health concern although it is common, but rarely fatal tropical disease. 

Final medical testing is underway on a vaccine for Dengue, whichis available.  As of 2021, one version is commercially available, known as CYD-TDV, and sold under the brand name Dengvaxia. 

The Federal Health Ministry said the lack of citizen participation to keep yards clean and avoid places where water can accumulate in puddles or dirty water is a factor to increase cases of dengue. 

"I have always said, that the reduction of cases at par and is proportional to the participation of the community, as a community and private institutions become involved it decrease dengue cases by the same proportion." said Garcia, Federal Minister of Health. 

Although Dengue is a very 'uncomfortable' thing to have, it is less commonly fatal than even common influenza. There was only one death attributed to the disease in Baja California Sur during 2014. There are four strains of Dengue, including the most serious, Hemorrhagic Fever, and you can only get Dengue once for each strain.

Residents have been urged in the media to clean up standing water in their yards, to make sure their tanacos (water cisterns) are bug proof . In the past, the city has handed out little packets of sterilizer for these cisterns, of which nearly every home in La Paz has at least one. A couple of tablespoons of unscented bleach will also sanitize the tanks, but using bottle water following either treatment is recommended.

Background on Dengue Fever

Dengue is found in many tropical sub-tropical regions in Mexico and around the world, predominantly in urban and semi-urban areas. Dengue viruses are transmitted by infected Aedes mosquitoes, (Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti) which are most active during the day but can be found out at night. There is no truth to the rumor that only a species of daytime mosquito carry the virus. The Asian Tiger Mosquito is denoted by the black and gray stripes on the abdomen and is know for its ability to bite quickly, more quickly that it can be swatted away.

There are four variations of Dengue fever, and you can only contract each version once, as the body develops antibodies to the virus. Unfortunately, as anyone who has had any of the varieties will tell you once is enough. There are no medications for the disease, antibiotics are ineffective and may only prevent secondary infections and further reduce the bodies ability to combat the disease. Hospitalization can be required and intravenous fluids administered to prevent dehydration, a major threat of the infection.

The first reported epidemics of Dengue occurred in 1779-1780 in Asia, Africa, and North America. The near simultaneous occurrence of outbreaks on three continents indicates that these viruses and their mosquito vector have had a worldwide distribution in the tropics for more than 200 years.

A pandemic of dengue began in Southeast Asia after World War II and has spread around the globe since then. Epidemics caused by multiple serotypes (hyperendemicity) are more frequent, the geographic distribution of dengue viruses and their mosquito vectors has expanded, and DHF has emerged in the Pacific region and the Americas. In Southeast Asia, epidemic DHF first appeared in the 1950s, but by 1975 it had become a frequent cause of hospitalization and death among children in many countries in that region. The unusual 1975 outbreak was particularly virulent in Southeast Asia and that year was the 5th leading cause of infectious death of children under 10 in that region.

The city of La Paz distributes packets of pesticides beginning late each summer, following our torrential rains, to homeowners and encourages removal of any standing water. The standing water is a key link in the development of the mosquito responsible for transmission of the disease. Night time spray trucks have been seen throughout the city in an effort to contain the adult mosquito. Dengue is usually most prevalent in northern hemisphere tropical areas from late June to mid-October.

The classic symptoms of Dengue Fever include a high fever that may last from 5 to 7 days; an intense headache; eye, joint and muscle pain; and a rash. The rash typically begins on the arms or legs three to four days after the beginning of the fever. Symptoms can range widely in severity. Significant symptoms usually resolve within 1 to 2 weeks, but like the diseases' relative Malaria, lethargic and some other symptoms can revisit the victim for months.

Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever is the most serious form of this illness. Individuals with Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever experience blood clotting problems which result in bleeding and shock (extremely low blood pressure). Hospitalization is usually required.

Dengue Fever is diagnosed by clinical symptoms and by specific blood tests.

There is no curative treatment for Dengue Fever. If there are no complications, recovery will occur within 1 to 2 weeks. Hospital care with intravenous fluids is usually necessary for individuals with the more serious Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. Antibiotic treatments are usually only applied to the Hemorrhagic version to prevent secondary infection. Antibiotics have little or no effect of the disease itself.

An individual infected with Dengue Fever is not directly infectious to other individuals except through sharing of blood-contaminated needles. Untreated individuals, if bitten by Dengue Fever-capable mosquitoes, could infect a small number of mosquitoes. These could transmit Dengue Fever if they subsequently bite another human at least 1 to 2 weeks later, depending upon environmental conditions.

The best tactic to prevent Dengue is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. This includes sleeping in areas screened from mosquitoes, wearing long sleeves and pants, and using mosquito repellents and insecticides.

There is no vaccine which can prevent Dengue Fever, however, such vaccines are in development.

Alternate Names: Breakbone Fever, Dengue-Like Disease, O'nyong-Nyong Fever


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