Sunday, July 16, 2006

Rainy season alerts

The government of El Salvador has issued alerts relating to the risks of dengue fever and heavy rains.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control, "dengue is the most important mosquito-borne viral disease affecting humans." Salvadoran government statistics report that the average number of cases in the country has increased from 60 per week in June to 111 per week in July. This increase prompted the government to place three departments -- San Salvador, La Libertad and Sonsonante -- under a yellow alert, while the rest of the country is under a preventive green alert. So far this year there have been reports of 2435 cases of classic dengue and 76 cases of the much more serious dengue hemorrhagic fever, and one infant has died.

Meanwhile, the entire country is also under a preventive green alert related to risks from heavy rains. Saturated soil conditions and a weather system which could bring repeated storms raise the danger of flooding and mudslides.

In the rainy season between May through October, the risks of dengue and storms go together. The dengue mosquito thrives in areas of standing water left by the rainstorms. The government engages in fumigation efforts and campaigns to educate residents about covering water containers and reducing available breeding grounds for the mosquito.

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