New York Times reports on Dengue

Dengue Fever Hits Paraguay

Published: March 4, 2007

ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay, March 2 — A Supreme Court justice, soccer players and a senator have come down with dengue in Paraguay, as the worst outbreak in the country’s history hit the well off as well as its usual victims among the poor.

On Friday, a nurse who worked with the public health service died after being hospitalized for dengue.

Ten people have died in Paraguay, which had never had a dengue death before, and more than 15,000 have been infected in the last two months. The dengue virus causes high fever, headache, muscle and joint pain and potentially fatal internal bleeding.

Brazil and Bolivia are also fighting major dengue outbreaks and, like Paraguay, have declared health alerts. The outbreaks are thought to be linked to unusually hot and rainy weather that has allowed the mosquito that carries the disease, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, to proliferate.

“We’re really scared,” said Amalia Benítez, an herb vendor in Asunción, capital of the landlocked South American nation. “Everyone is sick. This is chaos.”

Doctors and health workers protested Friday in front of a government public health building, saying the government has failed to fight the epidemic properly despite assigning $3.8 million in emergency money. Carrying signs with drawings of giant mosquitoes and photos of health officials, the protesters demanded that Health Minister Oscar Martínez resign.


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