Health officials in Santa Marta (Magdalena department) are on alert due to a spike in dengue fever cases over the past month. A total of 212 cases of the mosquito-borne disease were reported in the coastal city as of October 23. Fumigation and other anti-mosquito efforts are underway.
Dengue fever is endemic to Colombia. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 27,000 cases of the disease were reported nationwide in the first nine months of 2018.
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.
Individuals in Santa Marta and elsewhere in Colombia are advised to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites - e.g. by wearing covering clothing, using insect repellent, and sleeping under mosquito netting or in an air-conditioned room - and to eliminate possible mosquito breeding grounds (small pockets of fresh water, such as rainwater that has collected in cans, bottles, tires, flower pots, clogged gutters, etc.).
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