Visitors to Cancun and the towns surrounding the beach resort destination will want to keep an eye out for mosquitos during their vacation getaway.
That’s because the cases of dengue fever in the municipality have been on the increase lately and have topped more than 2,000 people infected.
The good news is there are some easy steps tourists can take to reduce the risk of contracting the tropical disease.
Dengue on the Rise in Cancun
According to the Quintana Roo State Health Services, nearly 200 new cases of dengue recently were reported in the state, bringing the total for the entire year to more than 2,000 cases.
The municipality of Benito Juarez, including Cancun, has registered the most dengue cases in the area. More than 1,275 of the total cases in the state have occurred in the immediate area in and around Cancun.
The Othón P. Blanco municipality, which includes Chetumal in the far south of Quintana Roo, came in second in total cases. It recorded 29 new cases for a total of 340 infections this year.
Among other tourist areas in Quintana Roo with increases in cases was Puerto Morelos, with 19 new cases for a total of 42. The Playa del Carmen area came in with 16 new cases for a total of 162 this year.
Tulum had nine new infections, bringing their total this year to 37. Meanwhile, Isla Mujeres had no new cases recently and 32 this year.
What is Dengue Fever?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, Dengue is a common tropical disease that is spread through the bites of Aedes species mosquitoes.
About half of the world’s population, or approximately 4 billion people, live at risk of the disease which affects up to 400 million people each year. About 100 million actually get sick from the disease annually.
The most common symptom is fever, hence the name dengue fever.
Other common symptoms can be considered flu-like, such as nausea, vomiting, and aches and pains.
The pain is a little different for dengue as it often affects the eyes, especially behind the eyes.
A rash is another common symptom of dengue fever.
Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for dengue. Doctors typically prescribe medicine only to treat the symptoms.
Tourists infected with dengue should take acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol outside the United States, to control pain and fever. They absolutely should not take aspirin or ibuprofen.
The CDC also recommends drinking a lot of fluids, including beverages with electrolytes, to remain hydrated while infected with dengue fever.
There are some danger signs to watch out for that will need immediate medical care. Those signs are bleeding, frequent vomiting, or feeling overly tired or irritable. Visitors with these symptoms should proceed to an emergency room immediately.
Dengue can turn severe in an infected patient in just a matter of hours.
How to Prevent Dengue Fever
There is a vaccine available to prevent dengue fever. However, it is not approved by the CDC for American travelers who do not actually live in an area at risk for dengue fever.
The best way for tourists to avoid being infected with dengue fever in Cancun is to avoid contact with the infected mosquitoes.
Try to avoid being outside when mosquitoes are feeding, such as sunrise and sunset. If a traveler has to be outside, try to cover all exposed skin and use mosquito repellant.
Tourists should also review country-specific information on the CDC website along with key travel tips for those visiting areas with increased transmission of dengue fever.
They should also purchase travel insurance for medical care if needed.
Planning ahead and learning more about dengue fever will be the best method for travelers to protect themselves and avoid spoiling their vacation getaway by getting infected.
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