Alarming Increase in Dengue Cases Across Latin America Calls for Immediate Action

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Updated 2024-04-02 06:56:04 | Published 2024-04-02 06:56:04
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Alarming Increase in Dengue Cases Across Latin America Calls for Immediate Action

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has raised an alarm over the unprecedented rise in dengue fever cases across Latin America and the Caribbean, emphasizing the urgent need for preventive strategies against the mosquito-borne disease.

PAHO's Director, Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, revealed in a recent media briefing that as of late March, over 3.5 million dengue cases and more than 1,000 fatalities were recorded in the region. This number is significantly higher than the previous year, which itself was a record year with over 4.5 million cases.

Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina are currently experiencing the brunt of this outbreak, accounting for the majority of both cases and deaths. This surge is attributed to favorable mosquito breeding conditions due to the warm, wet weather. Other countries like Barbados, Costa Rica, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Martinique, and Mexico are also seeing increases in cases, typically peaking in the latter half of the year.

In response, U.S. embassies in affected countries have issued health advisories, recommending preventive measures such as covering exposed skin, using insect repellents, and avoiding areas prone to mosquito breeding.

Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, has declared a public health emergency due to a sharp rise in dengue cases, particularly in the capital, San Juan.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that dengue is transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes. The disease's symptoms vary in severity, with about one in 20 people developing severe, potentially fatal dengue. Common symptoms include fever, severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, rash, and body pain.

Dr. Barbosa calls for a comprehensive societal effort to tackle the dengue challenge. This involves eliminating mosquito breeding sites, enhancing preparedness in health services for early diagnosis and effective management, and educating the public on the symptoms of dengue and the importance of seeking medical help promptly. These measures are critical, as outlined in a recent PAHO press release, to mitigate the ongoing dengue crisis.

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