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PAHO Urges Timely Response to Possible Dengue Outbreaks

Thursday 28th February, 2019-The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has called for countries in the Region of the Americas to prepare for a timely response to possible outbreaks of dengue. The disease is endemic in the Region and, since its reintroduction in the 1980s, has caused cyclical outbreaks and epidemics every three to five years.

According to PAHO’s latest epidemiological update on dengue, published on 22 February, 560,586 cases of dengue were reported in the Region of the Americas last year, including 3535 severe cases of dengue and 336 deaths. During the first six weeks of 2019, almost 100,000 cases of dengue were reported, including 632 cases of severe dengue and 28 deaths.

The main recommendations from PAHO focus on countries intensifying disease surveillance, as well as vector control measures to reduce mosquito populations that transmit the disease. Currently, the only way to control or prevent the transmission of the virus is the fight against Aedes aegypti, the main mosquito vector.

The organization also recommends continuing to educate the population, as well as community involvement initiatives. PAHO also requests that countries ensure that health professionals are trained in the diagnosis of dengue and other arboviruses, as well as in the adequate management of patients with these diseases. PAHO provides technical cooperation to prevent and control the disease.

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The first dengue epidemic with over one million cases occurred in the Region in 2010. Three years later, in 2013, the first epidemic with more than two million cases occurred. At the beginning of 2019, there was an increase in cases compared to the same period of 2018.

In Antigua and Barbuda, figures released in January by the Ministry of Health revealed that suspected dengue cases between April 2018 and January 18, 2019, were 15, with only two confirmed cases.

Since then, the total number of Dengue cases seen in Antigua and Barbuda between April 2018 and January 25 2019 is twenty one, of which six have been confirmed by CARPHA.

 

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