By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The dengue fever outbreak occurring in Central America is “unprecedented”, according to Head of Health at  International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)  Regional Office for the Americas, Dr Maria Franca Tallarico.

A combination of seasonal rains and warming temperatures are being blamed for dengue’s rapid spread–creating more stagnant pools that are perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes. There are rising concerns that this will make the outbreak will be harder to contain.

In Honduras, more than 71,200 people have been affected by the disease making it the worst outbreak in the country’s history. Nearly one quarter of the cases reported were classified as severe dengue and more than 65 percent of the 128 deaths so far are children under 15.

Guatemala (22,755), Nicaragua (91,269), and El Salvador (16,573) are also reporting massive increases in dengue cases compared to previous years.

Tallarico notes: “Dengue is endemic across the Americas, but what is very concerning in this outbreak is that the majority of the cases and deaths are occurring in children under 15. This is due to a lack of immunity in young people to the deadliest of the four strains of dengue currently circulating in the region.

The size of this outbreak is unprecedented across Central America. Dengue is a disease that affects the most vulnerable–those who live in places where there is poor sanitation and where mosquitoes thrive. But the disease can be contained if governments and communities work together to raise awareness, access medical care and clean up the environment. This is what the Red Cross teams across affected countries are focused on doing.”

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El Salvador map
Central America map/CIA