At least 20,391 suspected cases of Dengue fever, including 5449 confirmed cases and 36 deaths have been reported in Colombia in 2017 (as of late September). The most affected areas include the departments of Santander, Tolima, Valle del Cauca, Norte de Santander, Meta and Huila. It should be noted that the mosquito that carries the virus is not present in high-elevation areas, such as Bogotá.
Dengue fever is transmitted via the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Symptoms of classic dengue fever include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, nausea, and rash. Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) is a potentially deadly complication that is characterized by high fever, the enlargement of the liver and hemorrhaging. No specific treatment or vaccine is currently available. The disease is mostly found in urban and semi-urban areas. Be aware that aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen) should be avoided as these drugs may worsen bleeding issues associated with the diseases. Patients may be given doses of acetaminophen (paracetamol).
As a reminder, various other mosquito-borne diseases are present in the country, including malaria, Zika virus, chikungunya and yellow fever.
Individuals in the above areas are advised to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites - e.g. by wearing loose, covering clothing, using insect repellent, and sleeping in a screened-in or in an air-conditioned room - and to eliminate possible mosquito breeding grounds.
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