New Cases of Dengue Reported in Chile

SANTIAGO – The Ministry of Health confirmed two new cases of dengue in Chile. Both are on Easter Island, which belongs to Valparaíso Region. This raises the national number of dengue patients to four, after two earlier cases were reported in Iquique.

Over the weekend, the health ministry confirmed two new cases of dengue on Easter Island. Both patients were infected through the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The health ministry’s division for Valparaíso Region, which oversees Easter Island, said both patients were in relatively good health and weren’t experiencing new symptoms. These could range from high fever to vomiting.

Since the Ministry of Health had decreed a dengue sanitary alert for Easter Island in May 2019 already, it also has a contingency plan in place to prevent contagion.

The latest cases add to two others reported in Iquique, but they differ in that those infected in Iquique got affected in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz. The disease has an incubation period of 4-10 days. Two more cases are being investigated, but have not been confirmed, related to women who also visited the Bolivian city. So far, none of the infected face vital risk. Meanwhile, the ministry has announced complete isolation of the infected’s residences plus, as precaution, a search for the mosquito within a 50 m perimeter around their houses to ensure the disease won’t spread.

In Peru seven died because of dengue over the last days while the cases in Chile are the first since 2016.

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A Dangerous Mosquito

The Aedes aegypti mosquito transmits dengue and other tropical diseases like chikungunya, Zika, Mayaro, and yellow fever. It can be recognized by white markings on its legs. Although the mosquito is usually not found in Chile, since March 2019 larvae appeared repeatedly in the national territory. The mosquito’s presence in the country worries authorities since this would further stress an already overstretched public health service. That’s why the government has sent the military on expeditions to seek and destroy the Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae.

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