Costa Rican and Panamanian health authorities are working to address a rise in cases of dengue fever occurring in the Panamanian province of Chiriquí, notably the Progreso area located on the border of the two countries. The rise in cases of this mosquito-borne disease is in part due to the ongoing rainy season, during which time mosquito populations tend to increase. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which can transmit dengue fever along with chikungunya and the Zika virus, was detected in approximately 3 percent of homes surveyed in the Progresso area. These insects breed in small pockets of stagnant water (such as rain water that has collected in garbage heaps, tires, pots, etc.).
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. Be aware that aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen) should be avoided as these drugs may worsen bleeding issues associated with the disease; patients may be given doses of acetaminophen (paracetamol).
It should be noted that various other mosquito-borne diseases are present in parts of Costa Rica and Panama, including the Zika virus, chikungunya, malaria, and yellow fever.
Individuals in the above region - and in the two countries more generally - are advised to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites - e.g. by wearing non-revealing clothing, using insect repellent, and sleeping under mosquito-netting or in an air conditioned room - and to eliminate possible mosquito breeding grounds.
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