A state of emergency has been declared in Cali, the capital of the western Colombian Valle del Cauca department, after an outbreak of dengue fever killed at least nine people there, the country’s health department said on Saturday.
At least 1,247 dengue cases have been found in Valle, and 162 of the victims are in a serious condition, said the Department of Health.
The increase in malaria and dengue fever is blamed on the intensely hot and dry season in Colombia.
Dengue fever is common in many Central American and Caribbean countries. Its symptoms include high fever, nausea, rashes, backache and headache.
Most dengue cases are not fatal, but misdiagnosis or delayed treatment can cause death as some cases may lead to severe gastrointestinal bleeding and shock.
Several deaths in Cali were due to misdiagnosis, local health official said.
Colombia has reported 2,502 cases of dengue fever this year, with 594 of them becoming severe cases, according to the latest report by the Department of Health.