Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Guatemala City, Guatemala – (August 14, 2019)

Location:  Guatemala, countrywide 

Event: Increase in cases of dengue fever and hemorrhagic fever.

This message is being issued to alert U.S. citizens residing and traveling in Guatemala to an increase in reported cases of dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) by the Guatemalan Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare to our local office of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Due to ideal environmental conditions for the breeding of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the dengue virus, Guatemala is currently seeing a sharp increase in cases of dengue fever.  Cases of dengue have been reported in the Departments of Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango, Izabal, Escuintla, San Marcos, Suchitepéquez, Santa Rosa, Chiquimula, Retalhuleu and Guatemala.  Over 300 cases have been reported in the Guatemala City metropolitan area and more than 12,300 cases countrywide.

Aedes mosquitoes typically live indoors and are often found in dark, cool places such as in closets, under beds, behind curtains, in bathrooms, and on porches.  The risk for dengue is present in both urban and rural areas.

Actions to Take:

  • Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website on dengue fever.
  • Ensure that you have well-screened windows and doors or air conditioning when possible.
  • Travelers can minimize areas of exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, boots, and hats. Tucking in shirts, tucking pants into socks, and wearing closed shoes instead of sandals may help reduce risk. Application of repellents or insecticides, such as permethrin, to clothing and gear can provide an added layer of protection. Remind travelers to always follow instructions on the label when applying repellents to clothing.
  • Use insect repellent authorized for human use, such as those containing DEET, IR3535, Icaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or PMD, 2-undecanone, which can be applied to exposed skin or clothes. More information available at  Always follow the instructions on the product label. There is no evidence to suggest restricting the use of these repellents in pregnant women and children, provided that the instructions on the product label are followed.
  • For longer-term travelers and residents, empty and clean or cover any standing water where mosquitoes may lay their eggs in the local residence (such as water storage tanks, laundry basins (pilas) or flower pots).
  • Consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for country health advisories or call CDC at 800-232-4636 or 404-639-3534.
  • Monitor local and social media for updates.
  • Symptoms of dengue can include: fever, aches, pains and rash, as well as sometimes nausea and vomiting, and may last from 2-7 days. It can be hard to tell dengue symptoms from other illnesses.
    • Pay attention to warning signs for severe dengue which include: Stomach or belly pain, tenderness; severe vomiting (at least 3 times in 24 hours), bleeding from the nose or gums, vomiting blood, or blood in the stool and feeling excessively tired, restless, or irritable.
    • These warning signs mean you need to seek immediate medical attention, and tell them where you have been.
    • If you develop a fever or other symptoms that might be dengue:
    • Immediately see a healthcare provider.
    • Tell him or her about your travel.
    • Rest as much as possible.
    • Take acetaminophen to control fever and relieve pain.
    • Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen.
    • Drink plenty of fluids such as water or drinks with added electrolytes to stay hydrated.


U.S. Embassy Guatemala City
Tel. (502) 2326-4000

State Department – Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444

Guatemala Country Information

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