Dengue Fever in Bolivia

(Santa Cruz, Bolivia)


January 16, 2009

Dengue in Bolivia

The U.S. Mission in Bolivia recently received information regarding the declaration of sanitary emergency in four of the country's provinces - Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando and Cochabamba - due to an outbreak of Dengue fever.

Dengue, a viral illness spread by mosquitoes, is endemic in most tropical areas of the world. Outbreaks occur primarily in the rainy season. Bolivia reported 1,900 cases last year, with no fatalities. Classic dengue fever cases include the sudden onset of high-grade fever, severe muscle, joint, and low back pain ("breakbone fever"), retro-orbital pain, nausea, vomiting, and generalized weakness.

There is no vaccine or pharmacological treatment for preventing Dengue. Avoiding mosquito exposure with repellent, protective clothing and screened windows is recommended when traveling to the lowlands of Bolivia (there is no apparent risk in La Paz or the altiplano). Unlike the mosquitoes that spread malaria, the Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries Dengue bite during the daytime hours.

Treatment of dengue is purely symptomatic and most patients do not need to be hospitalized. However, since the diagnosis can be confused with other illnesses, most travelers with persistent fever should be seen by a health care professional when possible.

Additional information on infectious diseases such as Dengue may be found at

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's internet website at where the current worldwide caution, travel warnings and travel alerts can be found. Additional information is available in the country specific information for Bolivia at and on the embassy web page at

Current information on travel and security in Bolivia may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or, from overseas, 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). U.S. citizens traveling or residing overseas are encouraged to register with the appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate on the State Department's travel registration web site at

U.S. citizens may contact the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, via e-mail at or by telephone at (591-2) 216-8297 during business hours (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or (591-2) 216-8500 after hours and on weekends. The consular section is located in the U.S. Embassy at 2780 Arce Avenue in La Paz, Bolivia, and is open to the public (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 8 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.). The Santa Cruz consular agency can be reached by telephone and/or email at the numbers and address mentioned above, and the Cochabamba consular agency can be reached by telephone at (591-4) 411-6313. We hope this information is useful to you.

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