A total of 2886 cases of mosquito-borne diseases were reported in the country between the beginning of 2017 and the week ending June 4. Of these cases, 2291 were dengue fever - including 42 cases of the more severe version, dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) - 307 were chikungunya, and 246 were the Zika virus. These figures represent a major fall in transmission rates when compared to 2016, when more than 42,000 total cases were reported during the same period.
Nevertheless, the Honduran authorities are advising residents to continue to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites as well as to destroy potential breeding grounds of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, carriers of all three diseases. This type of mosquito lays its eggs in stagnant fresh water, such as pockets of rain water that form in piles of garbage, in buckets, pet food dishes, clogged gutters, etc.
Symptoms of classic dengue fever include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, nausea, and rash. 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).
Symptoms of chikungunya are similar to those of dengue fever and include: high fever, joint and muscle pain, rash, headache, nausea, and fatigue. The virus is rarely fatal but lingering joint pain can last for several months, even years, after the initial recovery.
While the Zika virus in itself is usually relatively benign (and asymptomatic in approximately 80 percent of cases), links between the Zika virus and severe birth defects as well as the potentially fatal neurological disorder Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), have been established. When symptoms do occur they generally appear two to seven days following contraction of the disease, and include fever, headache (behind the eyes), conjunctivitis, rash, vomiting, and muscle and joint pain. The virus is also transmittable via sexual intercourse.
Individuals in Honduras - particularly pregnant women and their partners - 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.