Paraguay health officials have detected a new strain of the tropical mosquito-transmitted disease dengue identified as serotype 4, the first case reported since last year which expands significantly the population’s exposure. Likewise the latest official report indicates 26 confirmed dengue deaths and over 13.000 infected.
“This is the first case of dengue 4; the last was in March 2012. He is a man in his fifties who lives in Pedro Jan Caballero, next to the Brazilian border; his condition remains stable and he is being treated at his home”, said the head of Health Vigilance Celia Martinez during a press conference.
At the Epidemiology Department, Dr Ana Fiandro explained the risks for all the Paraguayan population of the newly detected serotype circulating freely.
“When you catch dengue, your body creates immunity against that strain (serotype) and you won’t contract it for the rest of your life. However the strain 4 is relatively new and all the population that did not suffer it are exposed to strain 4”, said Dr. Fiandro.
She also mentioned that in other rainy seasons, strain one and two circulated in Paraguay which means those patients are also exposed to the new strain.
Dr Martinez reported that last Friday a seven year old child and a retired woman teacher died of haemorrhagic dengue, and in the evening the death of a nine-month old was confirmed.
“So far this year the number of deaths caused by dengue total 26, but we are also analyzing another 13 deaths”, said Dr Martinez who also pointed out that the epidemiological report refers to the first sex weeks of 2013.
The same report indicates that the number of dengue confirmed cases has climbed to 13.044.
Dengue fever also known as break-bone fever is an infectious tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles. In a small proportion of cases the disease develops into the life-threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, or into dengue shock syndrome, where dangerously low blood pressure occurs.
Dengue is transmitted by several species of mosquito within the genus Aedes Aegypti. The virus has four different types; infection with one type usually gives lifelong immunity to that type, but only short-term immunity to the others. Subsequent infection with a different type increases the risk of severe complications. As there is no commercially available vaccine, prevention is sought by reducing the habitat and the number of mosquitoes and limiting exposure to bites.