Health officials in the Caribbean and Latin America report an earlier than usual outbreak of potentially deadly dengue fever, and are bracing this year for a particularly virulent outbreak of the mosquito-borne tropical disease.
The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) said so far it has logged some 146,000 cases in the first three months of the year, of which 79 have been fatal. This time last year there were some 79,000 cases of dengue reported, with 26 deaths.
Health authorities already have declared epidemics in some Central American and Caribbean countries, and say the spread of the disease has been aided by climate changes.
“The year 2010 will be complicated, notably because of climactic factors like the El Nino phenomenon,” said Romeo Montoya, part of a team of doctors who track the Aedes aegypti mosquito which transmits the disease.
Dengue fever symptoms include high temperatures and muscle aches. In extreme cases, hemorrhaging and death can follow. There is no known vaccine, but officials said they are in the process of developing one, and hope to have it ready in about five years.
According to the PAHO, the countries likely to be hardest hit by this year’s outbreak are Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela:
- In Brazil, the number of dengue cases was up by 109 percent over last year, with 21 deaths.
- In Colombia, 22 people have died, or around 28,000 stricken with the illness.
- In Venezuela meanwhile, there have been 16,000 cases so far, said health officials who said the number of cases appears to be rising year after year.
- “We have a (level of ) epidemic that never before existed during normal seasons,” said Violeta Menjivar, the deputy health minister in El Salvador, where last month the government declared a national state of emergency for dengue. “The entire Central American region is affected.”
Global warming has allowed the Aedes mosquito, and hence dengue fever, to spread to areas where the disease had not previously been known.
Drought conditions in some areas also have worsened the outbreak because people have stored water in and near their living areas, creating breeding grounds for mosquitoes that harbor the virus. Officials have ramped up eradication efforts including eliminating dengue mosquito breeding grounds and undertaking extensive fumigation in affected areas.
The most effective way not to get any mosquito bites is understanding mosquitoes and then doing as much as possible to prevent them from biting you.
Indoor mosquito control
Knowledge you say? You most likely know that only female mosquitoes bite, but what do you do with that knowledge when you are am indoors?
The above knowledge is more for researchers and mosquito killing on a large scale, when it comes to indoor mosquito control: you need to know how to keep those few mosquitoes out of your house.
Because it only takes one Aedes Mosquito bite to give you dengue fever…
Indoor mosquito repellent
Most likely just like me having had dengue fever twice: you have a spray with mosquito repellent. It’s ideal to kill a mosquito when you see it but can’t squash it with your bare hands.
The disadvantage is the odor of the repellent and I really need to look up: if the spray kills mosquitoes, how harmful is it for me and you?
A harmless and easy way to protect yourself against mosquitoes is using mosquito netting. I have them now on all my doors and windows and when you say: the natural draft in your house will be reduced… That’s true, yet a ventilator solves that problem.
Mosquito netting and indoor mosquito repellent
1 month ago I got a free bed mosquito net sample from www.in-tection.com containing a very slow release indoor mosquito repellent.
In fact the website mentioned on the sample was wrong and should be simply: www.intection.com.
They have the above 2 ideas combined: they made a bed mosquito net with a slow release insect repellant (Deltamethrin).
Bed mosquito net : at least you can sleep in peace
The sample they sent me measures 160x180x150 cm and is hanging above my bed (twice bitten makes me quite careful…).
One disadvantage (which doesn’t compare to having dengue) is that you need more air-conditioning to feel as cool as without the mosquito netting.
I just send them an email about how long this slow release mosquito repellent will last and what is the effect of the repellent on the human body.
We will update you as soon as we get their response.
Aedes is a genus of mosquito originally found in tropical and subtropical zones. It can be found in my land of residence Malaysia and in neighbouring countries Indonesia (Bali) and Thailand.
The name of the Aedes mosquito comes from the Greek language, where aedes stands for "unpleasant".
Unpleasant is the least what you can say about the aedes mosquito: these aedes mosquitoes transmit the deadly diseases dengue fever and yellow fever.
Aedes mosquitoes have typical black and white stripe markings on their body and legs like so:
Aedes Mosquito with the typical black and white stripes:
Cause of Dengue Fever