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As dengue cases increase, Honduras declares state of emergency

By CNN Staff
July 31, 2013 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
Day biting mosquitoes can spread a disease called dengue fever, otherwise known as
Day biting mosquitoes can spread a disease called dengue fever, otherwise known as "break-bone fever."
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Honduras says dengue cases are on the rise
  • The government declares a state of emergency
  • So far 16 people have died of dengue there this year

(CNN) -- The Honduran government has declared a state of emergency after an increase in dengue cases.

There are 13,828 cases in the Central American nation, according to data released by emergency officials on Tuesday.

And so far this year, 16 people have died from the illness, the government said.

Health Minister Salvador Pineda said more than 1,800 of the cases were serious, according to a government statement.

Preventing and fighting dengue will cost the country more than $4.2 million, he said.

Tuesday's state of emergency declaration is scheduled to last until the end of the year.

Dengue fever is passed from person to person by mosquitoes. Unlike malaria, there are no drugs to prevent it. It also is difficult to treat and thus far, attempts to develop a vaccine have been unsuccessful.

Currently, the World Health Organization estimates that there are between 50 million and 100 million infections each year.

But a recent study led by researchers at the University of Oxford in England estimates the number is far higher, with about 390 million dengue infections around the world each year.

Dengue is most common in Asia and India, but more cases have been popping up in the Caribbean and Latin America in recent years. In mild cases, dengue fever causes a high fever, rash and joint and muscle pain. In extreme cases, it can cause death. According to the World Health Organization, about 12,000 people die of dengue fever each year.

CNN's Catherine E. Shoichet, Jennifer Bixler, Ana Melgar, Karen Smith and Kevin Wang contributed to this report.

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