According to the most recent figures released by the Costa Rican government, transmission rates of mosquito-borne diseases continue to remain at relatively low levels. There were 351 cases of the Zika virus registered in the first 37 weeks of the year (period ending September 16), compared to 2086 reported in the same period of 2017. During the same 37-week period, 1761 cases of dengue fever and 109 cases of chikungunya were also reported, compared to 4510 and 337 in 2017, respectively. Additionally, 30 imported cases of malaria were reported, but no locally acquired cases.
Symptoms of chikungunya include high fever, joint and muscle pain, rash, headache, nausea, and fatigue. The virus is rarely fatal but lingering joint pain can last for several weeks, even months, after the initial recovery. No treatment or vaccine for the virus is currently available.
Symptoms of dengue fever include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, nausea, and rashes. Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) is a potentially deadly complication that is characterized by high fever, the enlargement of the liver, and hemorrhaging. Symptoms of chikungunya are similar; the virus is infrequently fatal but potentially debilitating joint pain can last for weeks, even months, after the initial recovery.
Symptoms of Zika - fever, headache (behind the eyes), conjunctivitis, rash, vomiting, and muscle and joint pain - can appear two to seven days following contraction of the disease, although the virus is asymptomatic in approximately 80 percent of cases. Transmission of the virus is also possible via sexual intercourse. Although the Zika virus is usually relatively benign, links between it and severe birth defects, as well as the potentially fatal neurological disorder Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), have been established.
Individuals present in Costa Rica - in particular, pregnant women and their partners - are advised to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites (e.g. by wearing covering clothing, using insect repellent, and sleeping in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms) and to eliminate possible mosquito breeding grounds (e.g. small pockets of fresh water, such as rainwater that has collected in cans, bottles, tires, flower pots, clogged gutters, etc.).
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