Dengue keeps advancing in Latam despite efforts to contain the disease
Dengue continues to claim lives in Latin America with over 400 deaths and nearly 161.000 infection cases according to this year’s reports from the different countries.
The disease which is endemic in parts of tropical Latinamerica is caused by a virus transmitted by the mosquito Aedes Aegypti and its symptoms are high fever, headache, vomiting and skin rashes. A more dangerous manifestation is the hemorrhagic strain which has a high mortality rate.
In 2010 the mosquito transmitted disease infected 1.5 million people and caused 1.020 deaths in Latam according to official reports.
So far this year dengue has killed 69 people in Paraguay out of 29.277 confirmed cases, with a mortality rate of 0.21%, but according to Health Minister Antonio Arbo the real contagion may range between 150.000 and 200.000 cases.
These numbers exceed those of 2011 when there were 62 deaths and 42.264 infections were reported. However the disturbing fact for Paraguay is that the disease had no fatal cases reported until 2007 (17 deaths and 9.040 infections) and since then has been expanding.
Although dengue is endemic in certain regions of Brazil, so far this year there has been a 49% reduction in fatal cases: 247 compared to 481 in the same period of 2011, according to an epidemiological report released this week by the Ministry of Health. The Ministry attributes the improved situation to the measures taken to assist the infected with a faster diagnosis and treatment.
According to the latest official health reports from the Dominican Republic, the country recorded 6.838 cases including 114 deaths with a death rate of 0.5%.
The dengue outbreak in Peru, which is present in 15 regions, has caused so far the death of 32 people and infected 21.445 according to a report from the Ministry of Health. As part of its mass media dengue awareness campaign, the Peruvian government declared a 60 days state of emergency in three provinces, fumigated 68.233 homes and implemented a plan with quick medical support for areas where outbreaks of the disease occur.
In Ecuador, where in early 2012 there was a very serious outbreak with 21 deaths and 14.000 infected cases according to the country’s Ministry of Health.
Bolivia has reported 56 cases in recent weeks most of them in counties bordering Brazil with no deaths, said Health minister Victor Maturano. However, the minister said that prevention measures remain in place, in anticipation of the rainy season, including rapid action groups in those areas of the country where the disease is endemic.
A dengue epidemic was declared in Puerto Rico last October and has claimed six deaths so far in 2012 as reported by the Department of Health.
Venezuela reported 40.635 cases of dengue, of which 1.511 hemorrhagic, according to the latest figures released by the Ministry of Health.
In Central America, Honduras reported two deaths and 15.000 infection cases. El Salvador claims five deaths and 12.124 confirmed cases of dengue until November 21 and Panama reports 899 cases and 5 of the fatal hemorrhagic strain. Costa Rica posted no deaths this year although dengue cases so far this year total 16.258, and increase of 36% over 2011. Guatemala and Nicaragua have not specified public information besides the fact that there have been “no dengue related deaths”.
Chile has no reported cased of dengue since the vector mosquito is not present in the country but nevertheless the country has a network of traps for insects and larvae in strategic places to keep control of a possible outbreak of the disease.
Uruguay is free of dengue, less than a dozen cases reported in recent years are exogenous meaning the persons were infected overseas.
Argentina so far this year has not reported any dengue cases although the disease is endemic in certain areas of the tropical north.