Costa Rica’s Ministry of Health has warned of a recent increase in malaria cases throughout the country. As of Tuesday, November 27, at least 72 cases have been confirmed nationwide. The majority of the cases have been reported in Cutris district in San Carlos canton (Alajuela province).
Costa Rica aims to eradicate malaria from the country by 2020. No autochthonous cases were reported in the country from 2013 to 2015; cases were, however, reported in 2016 and 2017. In 2017, 12 autochthonous and five imported cases were detected.
Symptoms of malaria include fever, chills, headache, nausea, and body aches; early symptoms usually appear between seven and 15 days after the contaminating mosquito bite. There is no vaccine but preventive medications are available. Generally speaking, the risk of contracting malaria is highest at night (between dusk and dawn), when the mosquitoes that transmit the disease are most active.
Various other mosquito-borne diseases are also present in Costa Rica, including dengue fever, Zika virus, and chikungunya. However, case rates are relatively low as of late June.
Individuals in Costa Rica, notably in San Carlos, are advised to take measures to prevent mosquito bites and to consult their doctor regarding medication options.
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