Dengue Fever Now in Buenos Aires Proper

Dengue Fever in Buenos AiresThe U.S. Embassy has just issued a follow-up alert to their previous alert about the spread of dengue fever in Argentina. While previous reports had been limited to the north of the country, there are now at least 107 confirmed cases in Buenos Aires. While the government attributes those cases to people who have traveled to the north, local media is reporting that at least 5 of these people have not traveled.  And of course, Argentines do not believe the government numbers and most believe the number of cases is actually 2-3 times higher than reported.  Here’s the text of the alert:

Some Dengue Fever Cases Confirmed in Buenos Aires
This Warden Message, a follow-up to our message of March 27, 2009, is to alert U.S. citizens in and traveling to Argentina that the Argentine Ministry of Health reported 10,594 confirmed cases of dengue fever in Argentina as of April 12, 2009.  Up until recently, cases had been restricted to the northern Argentine provinces of Chaco, Salta, Catamarca, Tucuman, Corrientes and Jujuy, however 107 cases have now been confirmed in the capital and in Buenos Aires Province.  The Health Ministry reported that all suspected and confirmed cases in Buenos Aires had been imported from the most affected provinces, but media reports said that at least five infected people had not traveled outside of the capital region.  Dengue fever is a mosquito-transmitted illness, for which there is no vaccine, and no specific treatment.  Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a rare, more severe and sometimes fatal form of the disease.  For the latest information, you may visit the ministry’s website or call 0800-222-1002.

The Ministry of Health recommends eliminating sources of standing water, which form breeding grounds for mosquitoes.   To further reduce the risk of contracting dengue, Argentine officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend wearing clothing that exposes as little skin as possible and applying a repellent containing the insecticide DEET (concentration 30 to 35 percent) or Picaridin (concentration 20 percent or greater for tropical travelers).  Because of the increased risk of Dengue fever and the ongoing risk, practicing preventative measures is recommended by the CDC.  For further information on Dengue fever, please visit the CDC’s website.

Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the U.S. Embassy’s website the U.S. Department of State’s, Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information can be found.  The U.S. Embassy also encourages U.S. citizens to review to “A Safe Trip Abroad,” which includes valuable security information for those both living and traveling abroad.  In addition to information on the Internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.

United States Embassy
Av. Colombia 4300, Palermo
Buenos Aires
telephone 011-54-11-5777-4387
after hours 011-54-11-5777-4873;
fax 011-54-11-5777-4293.

Public hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 4p.m. Monday through Friday except U.S. and Argentine holidays.