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Deadly Dengue Fever Outbreak in Honduras

UNICEF Joins Efforts to Combat Deadly Dengue Fever Outbreak in Honduras

New York, Aug 13 2010 1:10PM The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is helping authorities in Honduras try to curb the spread of the local mosquito population as a deadly outbreak of dengue haemorrhagic fever sweeps the Central American country.

At least 33 Hondurans have died and more than 1,000 others have needed intensive care in hospital as a result of the outbreak, which coincides with the arrival of the rainy season. In total, at least 33,000 confirmed cases of the disease have been recorded so far this year.

UNICEF reported yesterday that it has provided Honduras with four thermal foggers, a type of industrial equipment that will be used to spray mosquitoes to cut short their life cycle.

The agency is also working with authorities on a public awareness campaign to encourage Hondurans to eliminate potential breeding grounds for the mosquitoes, such as water-filled containers. One part of the campaign is a project focused on teaching schoolchildren about prevention strategies.

“The most effective way to prevent dengue is to eliminate breeding sites before the mosquito can be created,” said Javier Rodriguez, a health and nutrition specialist for UNICEF.

“The eggs may settle on the walls of a water container and stay there a year. If they fall into the water, which is more probably during the rainy season, it is easy for the larva to take 10 days to become a mosquito.”

Dengue fever, a flu-like illness spread by mosquitoes, often emerges when the insects are able to breed in large numbers in artificial containers and improperly managed garbage, and the virus spreads through the bite of the female of the species. Sufferers may report only mild symptoms and may not realize they have the disease. Aside from joint pain, they may experience rashes, nausea and headaches.

But, as in the current outbreak in Honduras, some also suffer the more serious and often fatal form known as dengue haemorrhagic fever, which causes internal bleeding and circulatory failure.

ENDS

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