Outbreak of dengue hits Brazil

Seriously, are mosquitoes good for anything? I am a believer in the ecosystem and all that, but I could easily support a plan in which mosquitoes would be replaced with some nicer insects.

CNN reports today that Brazil has reported more than 55,000 cases of dengue, which can be a deadly mosquito-borne disease, in the past four months. Dengue has killed 67 people this year in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro state. Slightly less than half of the deaths were children under the age of 13.

We don’t know whether the deaths were attributed to the more severe form of dengue, dengue hemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal if unrecognized and not properly treated. With treatment, fatalities due to dengue hemorrhagic fever, which is characterized by abnormal internal or external bleeding, can be less than 1 percent.

Dengue fever, the more common form of dengue, is apparently caused by four closely related viruses. All of them are carried by infected mosquitoes, mainly the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, also known as yellow fever mosquito. Mosquitoes carrying dengue viruses breed in stored, exposed water, including places as shallow as jars, discarded bottles and plant saucers. There are 10 million cases of dengue around the world each year, so this is actually quite common.

Prevention? You have heard it a million times. Wear long sleeves, loose, baggy pants and make sure you’re using good insect repellent. Symptoms? High fever, severe headache, backache, joint pains and eye pain, nausea, vomiting and a rash.

Mosquitoes suck.