Health officials expect an increase in mosquito-borne diseases as the rainy season gets underway, particularly dengue fever, the Zika virus, and chikungunya. Stagnant bodies of water created by rainfall during the rainy season (May to November) create breeding grounds for mosquitoes that transmit such diseases to humans. The government has asked the population to eliminate potentially breeding grounds, notably piles of waste where pockets of water can collect.
According to the Ministry of Health, there have been 2014 cases of dengue fever, 284 of chikungunya, and 209 of Zika (13 associated cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome) so far in 2017.
Symptoms of dengue fever and chikungunya are similar and include: fever, headache, joint and muscle ache, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, and rash. Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) is a potentially fatal complication that is characterized by high fever, the enlargement of the liver, and hemorrhaging.
Although the Zika virus is usually relatively benign, links between it and severe birth defects as well as the potentially fatal neurological disorder Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) have been established. The virus is asymptomatic in approximately 80 percent of cases; when symptoms do occur, they generally appear two to seven days after infection, and include fever, headache (behind the eyes), conjunctivitis, rashes, vomiting, and muscle and joint pain. The disease can also be transmitted via sexual intercourse.
Individuals present in Honduras - in particular 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 in a screened-in or 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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