More than 50 dead from dengue outbreak in Central America

More than 50 people died from a severe strain of dengue fever in Central America, with more than 4,900 cases of the disease in Nicaragua alone, Food for the Hungry said on Tuesday.

Food for the Hungry, an organization that provides emergency relief and long-term development programs, is mobilizing workers to battle the disease in Nicaragua after the country's government declared a red alert to contain the epidemic on October 25. FH will send workers to Somotillo, Nueva Segovia and Chinandega to provide medical equipment, insecticide-treated bednets, cleaning materials and fuel for mosquito fumigation.

"The dengue situation is getting worse," Ervin Laiva, the director of FH in Nicaragua, said. "Hospitals are full. The strain is very, very strong. Adolescents are standing or moving around, and then suddenly go into shock."

FH will also join the Nicaraguan government to destroy mosquito breeding sites and spray houses to fight the life-threatening disease. The organization will also join NicaSALUD to educate parents on identifying, preventing and treating dengue fever.

Dengue fever is spread by mosquito bites and symptoms include body aches, headaches and high fever. While there is currently no approved vaccine or specific antiviral drug to treat dengue, the disease has a higher survival rate if treatment starts early.