Caja begins its major 2014 campaign against dengue mosquitoes today

Dengue is about 35 percent of the level it was a year ago, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social said Thursday.

In January and February, there were 1,462 persons who sought treatment for the mosquito-born disease. The number for the same period in 2013 was  4,149, the Caja said.

The most serious case of dengue this year, what the Caja called a grave case, was in Alajuelita, a San José suburb.  However, the Atlantic and Pacific coasts remain the areas where there is more of the disease.

Today the Caja kicks off a major national effort in advance of the arrival of the rainy season. Health experts are calling on citizens to spend 10 minutes a week to look over their homes to eliminate any potential mosquito breeding places.

The Caja said it already sent out 30,000 text messages cautioning the population about the disease.

The Caja will do what it asks others to do. The major push starting today will be to survey all the health facilities in the country for possible mosquito breeding places.

Expats and tourists in the areas with high infection rates can avoid the disease by using bed nets for sleeping or doing so in mosquito-tight rooms. They also should use repellent during the day. The mosquito vector for dengue is usually a day biter.

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