Colombian health authorities Wednesday alerted the population to an outbreak of dengue fever that has amounted to 1,600 confirmed cases since January 2012.
Colombia’s Red Cross representatives fear that many victims will not seek medical treatment, confusing dengue symptoms with those of a common cold.
Deputy Health Minister Fernando Ruiz told governors in the affected departments to take the necessary precautions to avoid an epidemic. “We urgently need that these resources be put in to place to have the ability to contract the personnel that we need.”
The deputy minister also called on the public to be vigilant, cautioning people to “be careful with standing water tanks where there may be mosquitos that generate the dengue virus.”
Symptoms of dengue include cold-like symptoms as well as sudden onset of fever, headache, joint pains and rash.
The virus’ incubation period is generally three to 14 days.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) keeps a map of reported dengue cases from around the world. Colombia and its neighbors are among the countries with the highest number of reported cases of the virus.
Dengue Map (Health map from CDC)
Reportan más de seis mil casos de dengue en Colombia (Prensa Latina)
Gobierno prende las alarmas por brote de dengue en el pais (Caracol radio)