Hi Phil, my partner and I are travelling to Peru the 8th March and wanted to visit family in Iquitos. We´ve heard there is an outbreak of dengue fever more lethal than ever with thousennds of people affected.
We would appreciate very much your advise.
Cecilia, there is indeed an outbreak of DF, and it sounds nasty!
On January 31st Living in Peru reported that 13,000 people had been infected and 13 had died in the Loreto province (Iquitos is the provincial capital). Worse news, it's a new strain of DF.
DF is not contagious - it's not spread by human-human contact. A mosquito has to bite an infected person and then bite you.
However there's no vaccine or immunisation, and no cure, only treatment of symptoms (which are very painful: fever and excruciating muscle and joint pain). If not treated it can develop into the deadly Dengue Haemorraghic Fever (internal bleeding).
Unlike the malaria mosquito which comes out at night... the DF mosquito hangs around during the day, especially in the shade of houses, so humans are susceptible.
Good news: the Peruvian authorities are beginning a mosquito control program - fumigating around Lima (not sure if the same is happening in Iquitos).
Other good news: you can reduce your risk significantly by taking precautions which you can read here:
While in Iquitos, help your partner's relatives by looking for stagnant water (in tin cans, old tyres and pots) and tipping it out. Take them some mosquito coils and if you have room, some mosquito nets - they'll appreciate them.
Follow news about the outbreak here:
http://www.livinginperu.com/news-13977-health-health-officials-prepare-peru-capital-dengue almost 8 years ago