PANAMA CITY – Panamanian health authorities declared Monday the existence of a dengue fever epidemic in the Central American country, where the infection has taken the lives of two people and has affected more than 3,100 in 2013.
“We’re having a dengue epidemic,” Health Minister Javier Diaz told reporters, adding that there were 3,124 cases of the illness, nine of them of the potentially fatal hemorrhagic strain.
He called on citizens to step up their efforts to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads the virus.
Up to now, health authorities have reported the deaths of two adults, while a 2-month-old baby with dengue remains in grave condition.
The Health Ministry is carrying out a national contingency plan that includes fumigation operations, fines for housing with pools of standing water where mosquitoes breed, and media campaigns to raise awareness.
Last year Panama registered 899 slight cases of dengue and five of the hemorrhagic strain, without fatalities, according to official data.
In 2011 almost 2,500 cases were reported of classic dengue, 32 of the hemorrhagic variety, with 15 people dying of the latter.