Monday, September 22, 2008

Dengue Fever in Baja

Tis’ the season, unfortunately. In Baja, dengue fever outbreaks typically occur in September and October following hurricane season when water from tropical storms is available for mass breeding of mosquitoes. There are four different types of dengue fever, with no vaccines or cures currently available.

Classic symptoms of the illness are: a high fever that may last from 5 to 7 days; intense headache; joint and muscle pain; and a rash. The rash typically begins on the arms or legs three to four days after the beginning of the fever. Symptoms can range greatly in severity yet in general usually resolve within 1 to 2 weeks.

There is no specific treatment for dengue except well-intended advice to rest and drink plenty of fluids. After recovery from infection of one type you obtain some immunity against that specific virus but subsequent infections by any of the other three types of dengue viruses can be more severe.

Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever is the most serious form of this illness. In addition to the classic symptoms listed above, sufferers can experience internal bleeding, liver enlargement and circulatory shut down. Hospitalization is usually required. It is most common in children under 15 yrs of age, but is also seen in adults.

Health Alert: Dengue Fever & Children If you are the parent of a child who has had an episode of dengue illness, it is important to know that a second infection can be much more severe. Symptoms of Dengue Fever in infants and children are outlined on the Pediatric Oncall website.

The best tactic to prevent dengue is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. This includes sleeping in areas screened from mosquitoes, wearing long sleeves and pants and using mosquito repellents. Another protective measure is to destroy breeding sites containing standing water such as old tires, plastic packaging, pet water dishes, etc. Anything that holds standing water can breed mosquitoes.

Molly, author of Viva La Baja! Relocation & Real Estate Guide to the Baja California Peninsula

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Never knew the info about children - good to have when traveling with kids. Great article.