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Officials declare health emergency as disease continues to proliferate: 'The weather has created a perfect breeding ground'

"There are 20 regions (out of 25) that will be declared in a health emergency."

"There are 20 regions (out of 25) that will be declared in a health emergency."

Photo Credit: iStock

A deadly fever is spreading in Peru following heavy rain and a heat wave, and the country's government has declared a health emergency.

What's happening?

Dengue fever cases are rising in the South American nation, with the weather conditions providing a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes that spread the disease.

As of February 26, Reuters reported 32 people had died from dengue fever this year, and the country had already recorded 31,300 cases in the first eight weeks of 2024.

"There are 20 regions (out of 25) that will be declared in a health emergency due to dengue," health minister Cesar Vazquez told radio station RPP. 

Why is this concerning?

Dengue causes symptoms such as fever, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, and body aches, and Peru's hospitals are already said to be "overwhelmed," according to Reuters.

Global warming is intensifying storms and increasing the likelihood of heat waves, which makes conditions favorable for mosquitoes and puts residents at greater risk for prolonged periods.

"The weather has created a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes to reproduce more quickly and become a more frequent vector of the disease," Vazquez said.

What can be done to stop the spread of dengue?

According to the World Health Organization, dengue cannot be spread from person to person. However, if an infected person is bitten by a mosquito, the mosquito can transmit the disease to other people. Those infected should rest, hydrate, and seek medical advice when possible.

Ensuring conditions are not ideal for mosquitoes, then, is the best way to prevent such a rapid spread of the disease. 

That begins with slowing the rise of global temperatures. While this isn't possible overnight, making small lifestyle changes to reduce the daily production of planet-warming pollution will soon add up.

Cutting meat out of your diet once a week, switching your gas-guzzling car for an electric one, or reducing the amount of power you use at home are just some ways to help. 

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