World

Dengue fever making comeback in Mexico

Mayra Regidor knocked on the door of the little green house, asked to enter and walked straight to the kitchen, where she saw a tub filled with dishwater and took out measuring tools to figure how much insecticide powder should go inside.

"She's got to get just the right amount," explained her supervisor. "Too little and it won't work; too much and the mosquitoes will develop resistance."

Regidor and her boss, Pedro Santamaria, a biologist with Mexico's Public Health Department, were part of the team that recently conducted one of the largest anti-dengue mosquito sweeps in the state of Colima's history. The target was nearly 9,000 homes in the city of Tecoman.

So far this year, the central state on the Pacific Coast is leading the country in confirmed cases of dengue fever, the mosquito-borne illness that's on the rise in Mexico.

Climate change and global commerce have created ripe conditions for the disease to spread not just in Mexico but all over Latin America. Brazil and Argentina have reported record numbers of cases this year, and dozens of people have died.

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers dengue one of the most important mosquito-borne viral illnesses. Tens of millions of cases occur each year, and outbreaks have happened in at least 24 countries in the Americas.

While there's just a small risk of dengue outbreaks in the continental United States, there have been periodic outbreaks.

Other places, like Puerto Rico, are more threatened, say experts.

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