La Paz, Feb 21 (IANS): Bolivia has seen a sudden increase in dengue fever cases this year, with a total of 8,700 cases and 29 related deaths reported to date, Health Minister Jeyson Auza said.
As of Saturday, which marked the end of the seventh epidemiological week of the year, there were 8,347 cases and 26 deaths, but the figures rose to 8,700 and 29 on Sunday, Auza added at his weekly press conference on Monday.
"Our monitoring reports that dengue has a mortality rate of 0.3 per cent. It is important to inform the public that we must take all measures to counteract this outbreak," he said.
Some 76 per cent of the cases have been detected in the eastern department of Santa Cruz, but infections have been reported in another six of the country's nine departments, Xinhua news agency reported.
The government is working to fight the outbreak jointly with local officials through the elimination of mosquito breeding sites, timely detection of the disease and specialised care for patients, Auza added.
Dengue is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, commonly known as the yellow fever mosquito, and can be fatal in its hemorrhagic form. Symptoms include high fever, headache, vomiting and skin rashes.