Dengue Fever in Costa Rica


This little blood sucker can take a grown man down in a matter of days.

It delivers a virus it has picked up along it’s travels and leaves it in the blood of it’s next meal.  The virus is manifested in the recipient as Denque Fever.   New cases of the Fever have increased 38% in this part of Costa Rica in the last year. The symptoms while rarely fatal are painful.  It’s alternate name – Bone Breaking – is an indication of this.

Thankfully, I have not experienced the fever directly, yet (fingers crossed).  I am observing a friend progress through the stages – High fever, aching joints & muscles, severe headache, dehydration.  Not sure if there is a rash bc of sun kissed skin tone.  It is due on day 3-4.

Pain is constant and reported at 10 on a 10 point scale.  My friend does have a dry cough not listed in the symptom complex of Dingue, so it may be a co existing allergy.  His lungs are clear bilaterally to auscultation — I love doing my medical lingo which means there is no signs of breathing problems.

Treatment is supportive measures – hydrate , rest and observe for complications like bleeding, coma… etc. Hospitalization &/or a doctor’s visit will not provide any additional comfort or cure at this point – unless complications develop.

My patient is calling for attention.  I will report more later.

Please leave suggestions in the comment section if you have experience with this illness.


Dianne reporting from Playas del Coco, Costa Rica

3 responses »

    • It is rare to get the bleeding type even in epidemic areas like CR. The garden variety is a virus like the Flu and for some is “bone-breaking’ painful. My friend in CR moaned for 4 days as if in childbirth :). I didn’t moan but did rest and do lots of cold fluid. As long as you do the stuff to protect from the insect bite (insect repellent, cover possible skin exposure) you will be safe. Then again it is very exotic to tell people you’ve had Dengue.
      Happy PR vacation.


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