A dengue fever epidemic has been declared in Burkina Faso by the national health ministry, with a notable surge in deaths and new cases recorded last week.
The virus is transmitted by infected mosquitoes biting humans. Warming climates provide an environment in which the insects thrive. Dengue fever is often symptomless – but when people do have symptoms these can include high fever, headache, body aches, nausea, and a rash.
More than 200 people have died this year in what is Burkina Faso’s most deadly outbreak in recent years.
The health ministry estimates that more than 50,000 people have the virus, mostly in Burkina Faso’s two biggest cities – Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso and People are being urged to make use of free testing facilities and screenings.
The World Health Organization recently warned that half the world’s population was now at risk of dengue fever, and that the disease was poised to emerge as a growing threat on the continent.