Dengue cases double in Bolivia

The recent doubling of the number of dengue fever cases in the Bolivian province of Beni has caused a concern among public health officials, who have placed the area under a general health alert.

Beni’s provincial health director told that of the 1,093 cases of dengue fever confirmed in the province in all of 2010, at least half were found in December. Over 1,000 cases of dengue have been confirmed in the area over the past several weeks.

The provincial capital of Trinidad has been hit with the majority of the cases. Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae, from the mosquito that transmits the disease, are believed to be present in 56 percent of homes, according to

Local officials are in a holding pattern as they wait for Bolivian health authorities to provide the equipment necessary to halt the spread of the disease.

Public health officials in the city are also attempting to raise public awareness about how to reduce the number of infestations in people’s homes.

Bolivia experienced a dengue fever epidemic in 2009. Approximately 50,000 cases were reported and there were 22 deaths.

Brazil and Peru have also seen dramatic rises in the number of known dengue cases. Brazil recently announced that it will spend $635 million in the coming months to combat the disease, according to the Associated Press.