Wed | Apr 1, 2020

Record number of dengue cases recorded in region – PAHO

Published:Thursday | November 14, 2019 | 9:51 AM

WASHINGTON, CMC – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says dengue in the Americas, including the Caribbean, has reached the highest number of cases recorded to date.

In its new epidemiological update, PAHO said Wednesday that there are more than 2.7 million cases, including 22,127 severe cases, and 1,206 deaths reported at the end of October. 

The report stated that the largest previous epidemic of dengue was in 2015, but added that the 2019 number of 2,733,635 cases is 13 percent higher than the 2015 numbers. 

Despite the increase in case numbers, the lethality rate, or proportion of deaths in dengue cases, was 26 percent less in 2019, PAHO said.

It said the four dengue virus serotypes are present in the Americas, with co-circulation of all four reported in Brazil, Guatemala, and Mexico in 2019. 

The simultaneous circulation of two or more types increases the occurrence of severe cases of dengue.

Brazil, given its large population, had the highest numbers in the update, with 2,070,170 cases reported, PAHO said.  

Mexico had 213,822 cases, Nicaragua reported 157,573 cases, Colombia had 106,066 and Honduras 96,379 cases.

But, PAHO said the countries with the highest incidence rates, which link case numbers to population, were Belize with 1,021 cases per 100,000 population; El Salvador with 375 cases per 100,000 population; Honduras with 995.5 cases per 100,000 population, and Nicaragua, which had 2,271 cases per 100,000 population. 

The fifth country with the highest incidence rate in the Americas is Brazil, with 711.2 cases per 100,000 population. 

Given the increase in cases of dengue and severe dengue in several countries in the Americas, PAHO recommended that countries strengthen their disease surveillance as well as their surveillance and control of mosquito vectors.

PAHO also provided detailed advice on how to manage and treat cases of dengue, noting that “early recognition of warning signs at different stages of the disease is critical in order to provide necessary health care and prevent progression to severe disease.”

The health body also said that “risk communication and information to the public is essential during outbreaks to reduce adverse impact, decrease domestic breeding sites, and for affected persons to seek timely medical assistance, and, therefore, prevent severe cases and deaths from dengue.” 

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