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A state of emergency has been declared in Honduras after an outbreak of dengue fever, reports children’s charity Plan International.
More than half the country is thought to be affected by the mosquito-borne infection, and there are particular concerns about children.
Nearly 14,000 people have now been diagnosed and 16 people have died. About 1,800 are at serious risk of internal bleeding and death.
The Honduran government has promised to step up its fight against the disease.
Its public health ministry is supporting programmes which are destroying mosquito breeding grounds and fumigating high-incidence areas.
Plan International is launching a £65,000 aid plan to run a dengue prevention project in the worst affected areas.
“The dengue fever epidemic in Honduras is affecting the whole family, especially children,” says Dax Martinez, Emergency Response Co-ordinator for Plan International in Honduras.
“Preventative actions must be taken immediately in order to fight the epidemic and decrease the number of deaths,” he adds.
The viral infection causes a flu-like illness, which can develop into a more severe form, occasionally causing death.
There is no specific treatment for the disease, but early detection and access to proper medical care reduces the risk of fatalities.
For more information on Plan’s work or to make a donation call 0800 526 848 or visit www.plan-uk.org