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PAHO urges Carib to eliminate mosquito breeding sites

Published:Friday | September 12, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Residents stand outside their home with their pets in tow as a Panamanian Health Ministry worker fumigate their home in the Tocumen neighbourhood as part of a prevention programme against dengue fever and the mosquito-borne virus chikungunya.

WASHINGTON (CMC): The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is urging Caribbean countries to eradicate the breeding sites of mosquitoes that transmit dengue and the chikungunya virus even as it warned of a possible increase in patients suffering from these diseases.

Since the start of the year, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have reported nearly 850,000 cases of dengue and 470 deaths from severe dengue.

PAHO said that, between December 2013 and September 5 this year, 650,000 cases of chikungunya, including 37 deaths, have been reported.

Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes

It said both dengue and chikungunya are transmitted by Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes, which are present in the vast majority of countries of the Americas, including the Caribbean, and that chikungunya cases resulting from local transmission have been confirmed in a number of Caribbean countries.

"We are approaching the season when there is more transmission of dengue, and we also face the risk that chikungunya will reach other countries of the Americas," said Luis Gerardo Castellanos, chief of PAHO's Neglected, Tropical and Vector-Borne Diseases Unit.

"That's why we need the countries to integrate their efforts to prevent and control both diseases."

PAHO is urging regional countries to strengthen existing dengue prevention and control strategies and apply them to chikungunya as well.