A total of 1285 cases of dengue fever were reported between January 1 and May 19 in Panama. To compare, 2471 dengue cases were reported in the same period of 2017. The outbreak has resulted in at least two deaths, both reported in Colón province; a third death potentially linked to the disease is under investigation. The worst hit areas have been the provinces of Colón, Coclé, and Panamá.
During the same period, 33 cases of Zika virus and four cases of chikungunya were also reported. All three diseases are transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
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.
It should be noted that other mosquito-borne diseases are present in Panama, including malaria (in the provinces/regions Darién, Guna Yala, Ngäbe-Buglé, and Panamá) and yellow fever (in areas east of the Panama Canal, e.g. provinces/regions of Darién, Emberá, Guna Yala, Colón, and Panamá).
Individuals in Panama 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 rain water that has collected in cans, bottles, tires, flower pots, clogged gutters, etc.).