|DR1.com - The death rate from dengue has been higher in the first half of 2010 than at any time over the past four years, according to official figures compiled since January 2006 up until July of this year. The number of fatalities in 2006 and 2007 was 12, in 2008 the deaths totaled 4, in 2009 there were eight fatalities and in the first half of 2010 there have been 25 fatalities. With regards to the number of cases reported, in 2006 there were 1,115, in 2007 there were 3,500, in 2008 there were 750, in 2009 the number was 1,291 and so far in 2010 4,700 cases have been reported. |
By the course that dengue has taken, and taking into consideration the fact that the disease, declared an epidemic by the Dominican Medical Association (CMD), has still not reached the critical point that usually occurs between the months of August and September, there will be a large number of fatalities and cases.
In response to this situation, the health authorities have announced the launch a large-scale national campaign this weekend to continue promoting preventive activities against dengue and other tropical diseases.
Public Health Minister Bautista Rojas Gomez said that events would involve members of the Armed Forces, churches, neighborhood groups, municipal governments, social clubs, NGOs, community groups, professional associations, and the media in a crusade to prevent fatalities. He said that the campaign would be intense from Friday to Sunday, although he guaranteed that preventive measures would continue to take place throughout the year. The mobilization includes the reinforcement and posting of health personnel throughout the country, spraying, eliminating breeding grounds for the mosquitoes that spread the disease, and distributing educational materials on how to prevent these diseases.
Via the English-language version of DiarioLibre.com: Another child dies of dengue in Santiago. Excerpt:
The number of fatalities from dengue fever climbed to two this week with the death of young Ariel Diaz Castillo, just one year and eight months old. The fatality raises the number of deaths from the disease to 10 in the province so far this year.
The family of the child that died in the Arturo Grullon Children's Hospital, asked the Public Health authorities to intervene in the health facility due to the number of cases of this disease, the poor conditions and the lack of beds and medical personnel.
The child's grandmother, Maria Duarte, said that it was not two fatalities from dengue over the past six days as the authorities report: "After I have been here they have taken away like five children and I arrived on Friday and they have taken away a lot", she said yesterday.
She said that at time they put as many as five children with dengue in a bed and other have to stay and sleep in chairs.
Dengue epidemic threatens Caribbean, kills dozens
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Mosquito-borne dengue fever is reaching epidemic stages across the Caribbean, with dozens of deaths reported and health authorities concerned it could get much worse as the rainy season advances.
The increase in cases is being blamed on warm weather and an unusually early rainy season, which has produced an explosion of mosquitoes. Health officials say the flood of cases is straining the region's hospitals.
In the Dominican Republic, where at least 27 deaths have been reported, hundreds of health workers and soldiers went door-to-door Saturday to warn about the virus and destroy mosquito breeding areas.
Hospitals in Trinidad are running out of beds, and Puerto Rico is facing what officials say could be its worst dengue outbreak in more than a decade.
"We are having a really large epidemic," said Kay Tomashek, epidemiology section chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's dengue branch in Puerto Rico.
At least five people have died in the U.S. Caribbean territory, and another 6,300 suspected cases have been reported as of mid-July, she told The Associated Press.
Only 100 more cases were reported during the same period in 1998, which marked the island's worst dengue outbreak. By the end of that year, the virus had sickened 17,000 and killed 19 people.
In Trinidad, officials added 15 beds to the San Fernando General Hospital on Friday. They also opened a dengue clinic to follow up on patients who are being discharged quickly to free up more beds. At least one death has been reported.
Dr. Anton Cumberbatch, chief medical officer of the island's health ministry, said he is worried that the number of deaths and cases of the more severe hemorrhagic dengue will increase this year.
The more people are repeatedly infected, the greater the chance they will develop the hemorrhagic form, which can be fatal, he told a recent news conference.
And since Trinidad had a severe dengue bout just two years ago, that means it is likely people who had the virus will get it again, he added.
"The risk and the severity of the dengue situation is apparently rearing its head at a really rapid rate," Cumberbatch said.
The Dominican Republic is grappling with the same problem.
Nurses at a children's hospital in Santiago, which has one of the highest dengue incidences this year, demanded more resources and personnel. Four children died this week in Santiago, located northwest of the capital of Santo Domingo.
Health Minister Bautista Rojas says more than 5,000 people have been diagnosed with dengue, but Senen Caba, president of the Dominican Medical Association, disputed those numbers and said doctors have reported more than 7,000 cases.
"Hospitals are flooded with fever cases," Caba said. "Emergency rooms are overflowing."
Caba said the last time the country experienced a similar dengue epidemic was a decade ago.
"There has been a kind of explosion when it comes to mosquitoes," he said of this year.
French Guiana, Guadeloupe and St. Martin also have registered a high number of dengue cases, and more than 16,700 total cases had been reported across the Caribbean through early June, according to the latest statistics available from the Pan American Health Organization.
There are four types of dengue, and all cause fever, headaches and extreme joint and muscle pain. Most victims recover within a week, and while they become immune to the specific type of dengue they caught, they are still vulnerable to other types, Tomashek said.
Health officials fear the virus, which had once disappeared from the United States, also could gain a foothold there.
While test results for a suspected dengue case in the Miami area came back negative this week, a recent study found five percent of Key West residents show evidence they have been exposed to the virus.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.