Reports On Uptick In Dengue Outbreaks In Latin America

March 16, 2011, 8:37 a.m.

February 14, 2011

"An outbreak of dengue fever across much of Latin America has killed 31 people since the start of the year and is showing no sign of relenting," Agence France-Presse/News 24 reports in a piece that notes the recent increase in dengue cases in the region over the past few years. Since the start of the year, "nearly 46,600 confirmed or suspected cases have been detected in the region, according to an AFP tally based on official figures," the news service reports. "There is no vaccine for dengue, a mosquito-borne viral disease endemic to tropical regions across the world, including Asia and Africa," the news service writes.

According to PAHO, some 1.8 million cases of dengue were reported in 2010, which killed an estimated 1,187 people. The dengue outbreaks have been more pronounced in certain Latin American countries, PAHO spokesperson Daniel Epstein explained. "In Venezuela, for example, 125,000 cases were reported in 2010, nearly twice the figure from the previous year," the news service writes. More recently, health authorities in Peru reported the emergence of "what they described as a 'very aggressive' dengue strain."

The article describes efforts to control the spread of dengue in Latin America, with countries such as Cuba, Paraguay and Peru embarking on fumigation programs to reduce the number of Aedes mosquitoes that transmit the disease. The article notes educational outreach efforts in Brazil and how health authorities are closely tracking the emergence of dengue outbreaks in Colombia "after unusually heavy rain in December and January, the National Health Institute said," according to the news service.

"The Aedes mosquito ... lives in urban areas and lays its larvae in stagnant water, the PAHO said," AFP/News 24 writes. The article notes how such factors lead dengue to more commonly affect the poor, "who have no running water and rely on water containers" (2/11).

 http://www.kff.org.

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