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Dengue Fever

Kihei, Hawaii
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546 posts
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Dengue Fever

Hi all,

I've been reading about dengue fever being a problem in Costa Rica. I'm going to be in Tamarindo, Drake Bay, Arenal, and Sarapiqui. Should I be concerned about getting it in all these places or just some in particular? Also, we are going surfing a couple days in Tamarindo. Do we want to spray ourselves with bug spray before we go out surfing along with putting on our suntan lotion? Does anyone have any helpful hints? Thanks in advance, both my son and I are people who mosquitos love.

Seattle, Washington
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for Seattle
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1. Re: Dengue Fever

They do make combo bug repellent/sunblock. http://goo.gl/uQngK I don't know if it's widely available in CR.

Cahuita, Costa Rica
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2. Re: Dengue Fever

There is expected to be a rise in dengue through Central America this year, but it is always a risk. Bug spray is a good preventative measure, as the mosquitoes that transmit it bite during daylight hours. A mosquito net will help to keep them away when you are still sleeping in the early dawn. Some people swear by eating loads of garlic or vitamin B12 to keep mosquitoes off. Your chances of getting it if you are careful and only here for a limited period are very slight.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: Dengue Fever

I just got back from Tamarindo and have the symptoms of a terrible head/chest cold, which are also some of the ways that dengue can present itself. I will make an appointment with a doctor to be on the safe side since it came on quickly and it's strange for me to get a cold in the summer. I was careless about applying bug spray because I was told risk was low in CR, but came home and read the alerts and now feel foolish. Better to get the anti-malarial and other medications in advance like I've done on other trips.

Slovenia
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for Costa Rica
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4. Re: Dengue Fever

The dengue fever worldwide situation is monitored by CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention www.cdc.gov/dengue . Its report shows that after Brazil, Thailand and some other East Asia countries, Costa Rica is up there with its number of reported cases. So taking careful prevention when being in Costa Rica is at the moment very important. Do use strong repellent, like one with DEET. Do wear long sleeve shirts and long pants. Do sleep under the mosquito net. Do read Travel smart on CDC web site. But do not panic. Taking anti-malarians will help you not if bitten by the mosquito infected with dengue. And the fever is lethal only in a very rare occasion, and mostly when infected person does not have means for proper treatment, which is very unlikely for a average tourist in Costa Rica. SfromDC, do visit your doctor ASAP as the symptoms you mentioned might be related to dengue.

Costa Rica
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5. Re: Dengue Fever

SfromDC: Dengue is totally different from malaria and there is nothing to can take to prevent it. The only prevention is to be faithful about using insect repellent. Yeah, I'm telling you after the fact, I know. lol

There is no malaria in Costa Rica (12 cases last year) so no need to take anti-malarials.

Asheville, North...
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6. Re: Dengue Fever

I just returned from Costa Rica. I traveled to Montezuma, Malpais, Samara, and Bijagua. I wore strong DEET every evening. I was there for ten days and began feeling feverish my final day. I developed a rash a couple days after that and felt absolutely awful. When I returned home my doctor confirmed that I had Dengue. I am fine now, but wowza, Dengue is awful.

From my experience, the risk of getting Dengue in Costa Rica is not merely "slight" as a previous contributor opined.

Costa Rica
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7. Re: Dengue Fever

watching99: You say in your post that you wore insect repellent every evening. The dengue mosquitoes are not active in the evening but during the day and they like to hang out in shady places.

So sorry that you got dengue, but others should be sure to wear insect repellent DURING THE DAY to avoid the dengue mosquitoes. (Perhaps you did wear repellent during the day.)

Chances are, you acquired the dengue during your first few days.

Cahuita, Costa Rica
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8. Re: Dengue Fever

Sorry to hear that your vacation ended with Dengue, Watching. It is horrible - I guess that mosquito found the one place that wasn't sprayed. Isn't it always the way! Do keep up your fluids to ensure a fast recovery. AS you can see, from other posts, Costa Rica is in the middle of campaigns and action to kill mosquitoes, rid areas of nesting sites and educate the population how to avoid Dengue and the symptoms. Hope you have much better luck on your next trip! I have lived here 14 years and have had it once - imagine how unlucky you have to be to catch it in a couple of weeks of vacation!

Chantilly, Virginia
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9. Re: Dengue Fever

Watching 99 - Thanks for your post and I'm so sorry that you got dengue. We have a our first trip for our family planned for Christmas time. I am nervous about dengue - it really does sound awful. I would hate to get it but I would especially hate for one of my children to get it. Can you let us know if you were also diligent about wearing insect repellent during the day?

Sara - I hope the campaigns to kill the mosquitos are effective. Would appreciate updates from those of you who live there.

Costa Rica
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10. Re: Dengue Fever

You really have no worries if you are coming in December which is part of "dry season." Now, we're into rainy season which is why there are so many more cases of dengue. Plus...... dengue isn't everywhere in the country.