A major dengue fever epidemic triggered by recent flooding continues to intensify in the northwestern Piura region, with a spike in case rates reported in recent days. More than 30,000 confirmed or probable cases of the disease have been detected in region since the beginning of the year, including 29 fatalities, as of May 30. Health experts have criticized the government for delays in carrying out anti-mosquito measures (e.g. fumigation). A state of emergency has been declared for the department.
More than a million people across Peru were affected by torrential rains - which resulted in major flooding and landslides - from December 2016 to April 2017. This abnormally intense rainfall, which left more than 100 people dead along with widespread damage - has been attributed to the El Niño climatic phenomenon. Pockets of stagnant water provide fertile breeding grounds for the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, potential carriers of dengue fever as well as chikungunya, the Zika virus, and yellow fever.
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).
Individuals in Peru 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.).
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