Venezuela: A dengue fever epidemic is spreading in Venezuela, where three people have died and the number of cases of the mosquito-borne illness has more than doubled this year to over 24,000 infections. Symptoms include headaches, rashes, cramps and severe muscle pain. Most victims recover within a week, but one strain of the disease can be fatal if medical attention is not quickly obtained. There is no preventive except avoiding mosquito bites: wearing clothing that covers the arms and legs, and applying insect repellent.
The killing of a visiting ballet dancer in the city of Barquisimeto Aug. 10 underscores the need for caution when traveling here. The dancer, from the National Ballet of Georgia, was walking with her husband to their hotel after dinner when they were accosted by three gunmen. She panicked, fled, and was shot. Random violence has soared in the past few years because of drug trafficking, endemic poverty, easy access to guns and penal code reform that released thousands of criminals to end prison overcrowding.