LA PAZ -- The Bolivian government has confirmed that nine people have died so far this year of dengue hemorrhagic fever, while another death is being studied that could be the 10th victim of this most lethal form of the epidemic currently afflicting the nation.
The national director of epidemiology, Juan Carlos Array, told Efe that "nine (deaths) have been confirmed," and said that another death is still being analyzed to see if it was caused by dengue or some other disease.
Arraya also said that between suspected and confirmed, there are now more than 20,000 cases of ordinary dengue fever in Bolivia.
At the beginning of February the official expressed his fear that the number would reach 50,000 by March.
Dengue, an infectious disease transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, causes high fevers, headaches, vomiting and skin rashes, and can be deadly in its hemorraghic form, which occurs when a person is infected by the insect for the second time.
Bolivia is suffering its biggest epidemic of the disease for a decade and this week asked for international aid, since it is estimated that $2 million are needed and 500 fumigators to deal with this health emergency.
The government has set aside $1.2 million to control the disease and to carry out humanitarian tasks, while the Andean Development Corporation (CAF) has offered $1.1 million, of which $1 million will be in the form of a loan and the rest a donation.
The biggest dengue epidemic in recent years in the region occurred in 2007 in Paraguay, whose government had to decree a national emergency for two months when some 27,000 people were infected, of whom 17 died.