Published Tuesday, July 30, 2013 9:08PM EDT
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Honduras’ government has declared a state of emergency due to a dengue fever outbreak that has killed 16 people and sickened 12,000.
Health Minister Salvador Pineda says Tuesday’s decree means the government is making it a priority to prevent and control the disease and fight the mosquitoes that spread it.
Pineda says more than half of Honduras’ municipalities have registered dengue fever cases.
Authorities say two Hondurans died last year from the disease and there were no deaths registered in 2011. But the country’s worst dengue fever outbreak in recent years was in 2010, when 83 people died and more than 66,000 had the illness.
Dengue causes high fever, joint pains and nausea. In severe cases, it can lead to internal bleeding, liver enlargement, circulatory shutdown and death.