Dengue, it's a thing. Photo via europapress.net

So remember a couple weeks ago when dengue was localized in Brazil, Paraguay and Northern Argentina and the rest of us thought our only concern was being able to afford insect repellent despite scary inflation rates? Well, turns out we have to worry about actually contracting the disease now, too.

Health Minister Jorge Lemus declared the outbreak to be a full-out epidemic yesterday: “We have an epidemic on our hands that’s most present in Formosa, where there are more than 500 reported cases and in Misiones, where there are more than 400 reported cases. But we’re estimating that the real number of cases is actually double or triple,” he told press.

Then today, National Director of Epidemiology Jorge San Juan described the dengue outbreak as having a snowball effect.

“Unfortunately it’s difficult to stop [the outbreak] because conditions are ripe due to heat, water accumulation and the presence of mosquitoes,” he explained.

As of yesterday, the number of total reported cases estimated by health ministers from the provinces had reached an alarming 1,100 nationwide, which is 1,000 cases more than the 94 cases reported last year. These include seven cases in the capital.

For those of you who don’t know what dengue is, the World Health Organization (WHO) describes it is a fever-causing illness that is contracted through an infected mosquito bite. And according to my aunt in Jamaica, it really ain’t all that fun.

Not to scare readers in Buenos Aires, but I would take the following preventative measures to be on the safe side, as it is now an epidemic. Just in case you forgot how to protect yourself, here’s a handy list.

  • Avoid getting bit by mosquitoes (that’s actually my personal suggestion)
  • Stay in air-conditioned or well-screened accommodations
  • Avoid being outdoors at dawn, dusk and early evening, when more mosquitoes are out
  • Wear long-sleeved shirt, long pants, socks and shoes when outdoors (this one may involve the risk of dangerously overheating, but one problem at a time)
  • Use mosquito repellent (also known as “other humans repellent.” They smell awful)