Three new cases of Dengue Fever (DF) were reported last weekend on Easter Island, a Chilean outpost in the South Pacific. Two men and one woman, both native islanders, were found to be infected with the disease.
The outbreak occurred in the Hanga Roa sector of the island, and the area was quickly put under surveillance to avoid further outbreaks. The deadly disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and can not be passed from person to person. The much-feared disease is frequently found in tropical areas and the only way to prevent the disease is by spraying for mosquitoes and cleaning up the stagnant puddles of water where they breed. Chilean authorities said that health specialists from were dispatched to the island and that the disease was not a threat to mainland Chile. Meantime in Paraguay where the disease seems to be spreading causing several deaths in spite of government efforts, a well known businesswoman linked to the gourmet industry died in a private hospital. The patient was taken to hospital last Wednesday and died Sunday in the intensive care unit of a general septicemia caused by the dengue fever, said medical sources from the private hospital in Asuncion. The businesswoman during several decades conducted a television program on Paraguayan culinary tradition and had written several books on the subject. So far in 2007 a total of 3.961 people in Paraguay have been infected by the benign form of dengue fever and another 23 with the hemorrhagic symptoms commonly fatal, according to official Paraguayan Health Ministry data. Local authorities so far only admit three deaths from dengue, including one of a doctor and political leader from the opposition who died last January 25. The outbreak and quick spread of the disease transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, particularly in the capital Asuncion and surrounding area, forced the Paraguayan government to declare last January 15 an epidemics alert in the whole country. Dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever are caused by one of four closely related, but antigenically distinct, virus serotypes (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4), of the genus Flavivirus. DF and DHF are primarily diseases of tropical and sub tropical areas, and the four different dengue serotypes are maintained in a cycle that involves humans and the Aedes mosquito.