U.S. Embassy In Peru Issues Travel Warning Amid Dengue Fever Spread

U.S. Embassy In Peru Issues Travel Warning Amid Dengue Fever Spread

The US Embassy in Peru closely monitors an extensive dengue fever outbreak, following the declaration of a national health emergency on February 26, caused by a rise in temperatures and heavy rains that prompted the uncontrolled reproduction of the dengue mosquito.

According to the agency, there’s been a 262 percent increase in cases over the last 12 months. Regions undergoing the most incidences include: La Libertad (16,247 cases), Lima (12,306 cases), Piura (11,470 cases), and Ica (10,909 cases.)” 

Most of the cases have been reported in the north of the country, a place where hospitals are already undersupplied.

“The weather has created a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes to reproduce more quickly and become a more frequent vector of the disease,” said Health Minister Cesar Vasquez.

Health authorities forecast a steady increase in cases over the first two weeks of April and a decline by the end of that month.

Vinicunca, the 7-color mountain, Peru

But how much should you be concerned? Is this a life-threatening illness? 

Contrary to popular belief, a vaccine against the four types of dengue has already been developed. It’s called Dengvaxia and it’s aimed at people 9 to 45 years old.

It has two major drawbacks though. The first one is that it only works on people who have already had a dengue infection. The second is that it is made up of three doses that should be administered once every 6 months. So you take 1.5 years to be fully vaccinated.

Getting infected with the virus entails that you’ll likely experience severe headaches, break-bone fever, vomits, rashes and COVID-like and malaria-like symptoms. Some cases lead to plasma leakage and death.

Out of the 269,216 infected people in Peru last year, 428 couldn’t make it, the government informed. 

Since being eligible for a vaccine is rather impossible, here is some advice the US Embassy in Peru gives to those in the territory.

  • Avoid mosquito bites by using repellent and wearing loose-fitting clothes that cover your entire body. 
  • Get informed about the disease and its potential symptoms.  
  • Consult this list of local medical providers in case you get sick.
  • Empty all water containers near your home to prevent mosquito reproduction.
  • Register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to keep yourself informed about the changing situation.

As per reports from the World Health Organization, around 400.000.000 people get infected with dengue every year. A quarter of them will become ill.