Sun | Oct 20, 2019

Central America’s dengue epidemic deadly in Honduras

Published:Friday | September 20, 2019 | 9:28 AM
In this photo taken on September 5, 2019, patients receive treatment for dengue inside a room at the Fernando Velez Hospital in Managua, Nicaragua. As a region, Central America and Mexico have already recorded nearly double the number of dengue cases as in all the previous year. Guatemala, Mexico and Nicaragua have seen double-digit death tolls. (AP Photo/Alfredo Zuniga)

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — In a ward usually reserved for juvenile burn victims, children lay listlessly under mosquito nets next to worried parents.

On a recent day, 9-year-old Carlos Benítez was headed home after enduring several days of intravenous fluids while doctors waited for his dengue fever to break.

But Dr. Sara Hernández, who supervised the ward at the University School Hospital, knew the bed would immediately be filled, just as all the beds have been since the ward opened in June amid a deadly epidemic of the mosquito-spread virus.

At least 135 people have died from dengue this year in Honduras, nearly two-thirds of them children. Many other suspected deaths await lab confirmation.

Honduras already has by far the highest death rate from dengue in Latin America this year, and the country’s most prevalent strain also happens to be the most aggressive and the deadliest.

The epidemic hit a country roiled by social unrest and led by a president who has lacked credibility since he won another term in spite of a constitutional ban on his re-election in 2017.

As a region, Central America and Mexico have already recorded nearly double the number of dengue cases as the entire previous year.

Guatemala, Mexico and Nicaragua have seen double-digit death tolls.

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