The Heat Is Online

Dengue Hits 5,500 in Mexico

7 Dead of Dengue Fever in Mexico

By Roberto Mora, Associated Press, Oct. 20, 1999

MONTERREY, Mexico -- (AP) -- Dengue fever has swept across northern Mexico near the Texas border, killing at least seven people and making thousands of others ill, local officials said Wednesday.

About 5,500 people in Nuevo Leon state have been diagnosed with the painful, mosquito-borne disease this month alone. Of those, about 150 have come down with the serious, sometimes-deadly form known as hemorrhagic dengue.

In neighboring Tamaulipas, which runs along the border from Nuevo Laredo to the Gulf of Mexico, 500 more cases have been reported, said Martha Marmolejo, head of Nuevo Laredo's medical services.

Five people died in Nuevo Leon, and two died in Tamaulipas.

People complaining of symptoms have crowded into hospitals in Nuevo Leon's capital, Monterrey, which is about 135 miles south of Laredo, Texas. Some of them turned out to be sick. Many others proved to be healthy but had become alarmed after hearing radio and television commercials urging people to combat mosquitos.

Dengue occurs regularly in Nuevo Leon, usually toward the end of summer when the rainy season begins. Some 4,400 cases were registered last year. But hemorrhagic dengue has nearly doubled to 157 from 87 last year.

Dengue is characterized by headaches, rashes, cramps and severe muscle and bone pains. It usually last about two weeks after infection, and treatment is given mostly to relieve symptoms. The hemorrhagic strain is accompanied by internal bleeding.

Dengue is spread by the Aedis Egypti mosquito, the same insect that spreads yellow fever. Authorities have been spraying pools and puddles to kill the mosquito larvae.

Copyright 1999 The Associated Press