Dengue fever surging in Central and South America, worst outbreak feared

Health authorities are warning of the worst outbreak ever of Dengue fever in Central and South America. They say the number of cases this year has tripled compared with the same period last year.

The mosquito-borne disease causes high fever and severe headaches, as well as pain in muscles and joints. In severe cases, it can be fatal.

The Pan American Health Organization said at a news conference on Thursday that the number of Dengue fever infections surpassed 3.5 million in Central and South America, including more than 1,000 deaths.

The cases reported from Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay make up 90 percent of the infections.

Earlier this week, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico declared a public health emergency following a surge of Dengue cases in the country. This indicates that the disease is also spreading in Central America and the Caribbean, where Dengue cases are rarely seen in this period of time.

The Pan American Health Organization predicts that a yearly number of cases will top last year's figure of 4.5 million in the region. Officials are urging people living in areas where Dengue is spreading to take thorough precautions.