Sun | Sep 20, 2020

PAHO says dengue cases on the rise in the region

Published:Friday | February 14, 2020 | 1:14 PM

WASHINGTON, CMC – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says dengue cases are on the rise in the Americas, including the Caribbean, with more than three million cases reported in 2019.

According to PAHO’s latest epidemiological update, last year represented the largest number recorded in the region.

On Wednesday, PAHO said the figures exceeded the 2.4 million cases reported in 2015 during the previous largest dengue epidemic in the history of the region.

That year, almost 1,400 people died of dengue.

“Despite the increase in the number of cases in 2019, thanks to intense efforts from the countries, the case fatality rate, or the percentage of cases of dengue that progress to death, has been kept below the expected 1 percent (0.05 percent in 2019),” said Marcos Espinal, director of PAHO’s Department of Communicable Diseases and Environmental Determinants of Health. 

In 2019, PAHO said more than 1,500 people died of dengue.

Given its large population, PAHO said Brazil had 2,241,974 cases in 2019, 70 percent of the total reported in the region and more than half of all deaths from the disease. 

PAHO said Mexico reported 268,458 cases; Nicaragua, 186,173 cases; Colombia, 127,553 cases; and Honduras, 112,708 cases.

Although the region is emerging from an epidemic year, PAHO said it is expected that 2020 will also experience a high level of cases. 

So far this year, PAHO said more than 125,000 cases of dengue have been reported, including 27 deaths (a case fatality rate of 0.021 percent). 

According to PAHO, Bolivia, Honduras, Mexico and Paraguay have reported more cases of dengue in the first four weeks of 2020 than during the same period of 2019.

PAHO urged families, communities, and authorities to continue implementing measures to eliminate mosquito breeding sites, which is key to reducing transmission of the disease.

“The priority for the health sector is to avoid deaths,” said Jose Luis San Martin, PAHO’s regional advisor for dengue, recommending that people living in areas where the disease is circulating not to “self-medicate” and that they consult a health professional when dengue is suspected.

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