Bolivian region declares red alert for dengue fever

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LA PAZ, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Health authorities in the eastern Bolivian department of Santa Cruz on Thursday declared a "red alert" for dengue fever due to an alarming rise in cases and four deaths from the disease this year.

Carlos Hurtado, head of epidemiology of the department's health services, told the media that Bolivia would strengthen disease surveillance, guarantee treatment for patients and destroy mosquito breeding sites.

Hurtado said that health centers are not yet saturated, despite the high number of patients hospitalized with dengue. According to the regional epidemiological report, 112 patients are hospitalized, including 78 in the city of Santa Cruz, the department's capital.

So far this year, "four deaths have been reported in the region with clinical characteristics of the disease, so the health scientific committee has been reactivated to take action," he said.

Nationwide, 508 dengue cases have been reported in six departments, including 319 in Santa Cruz, said Minister of Health and Sports Jeyson Auza.

Dengue is a viral infection transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes, and severe dengue is a leading cause of serious illness and death in some Asian and Latin American countries, according to the World Health Organization. Enditem

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