Dengue and chikungunya: South America on alert for risk of new epidemic

In several countries in the region, the number of cases has skyrocketed and deaths by dengue and chikungunya caused by the mosquito Aedes aegypti.

Summer has come to an end in the Southern Cone of Latin America, but mosquito proliferationaedes aegypti‘, transmitter of diseases such as ezika, dengue and chikungunya, alerted the authorities of several countries to the increase in cases and deaths.

A recent report published by the scientific journal The Lancet warns that climate change and its consequent heat waves in the region produced a 35% increase in dengue cases in the period 2012-2021, compared to 1951-1960.

The document states that the temperate countries of the Southern Cone are “very vulnerable to the severe effects of this viral disease, mainly driven by rapid urbanization“.

Against a backdrop of high temperatures followed by rain, the epidemic that hit Latin America between 2019 and 2021 could return if urgent measures are not taken.

Paraguay, Brazil and the wolbachia method

Paraguay has the largest chikungunya epidemic in its history and is one of the most affected nations on the continent, with thousands of hospitalizations and 71 deaths since the last “wave” of infections.

To such an extent that the Ministry of Public Health and Social Security called experts from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to analyze the situation.

The country registers 59,812 cases of chikungunya, between confirmed and probable, in the first three months of the year, at a rate of 5,000 cases per week across the country, while 1,416 people contracted dengue.

As long as the mosquito remains in our homes, and we agree to live with it, we will continue to have dengue and chikungunya. The real fight is against the mosquito“, explained the director of Health Surveillance, Guillermo Sequera, at a press conference.

Brazil is also busy monitoring the exponential rise in Zika, dengue and chikungunya infections. In 2022, the South American giant had the record of more than a thousand deaths from dengue and 1.45 million cases were registered, a number 162.5% higher than in 2021.

The numbers could get worse: in the first three months of this year, 404,000 infections were registered, an increase of 53% compared to the same period last year, and 117 deaths. Meanwhile, chikungunya affected around 54,000 people and left seven dead, while zika caused 1,625 patients without causing any deaths.

As reported by the newspaper young breadthe Ministry of Health has issued an alert and several municipalities have already declared an emergency situation due to the spread of dengue.

vaccine implementation

In early March, the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) approved a vaccine to prevent dengue called Qdenga, from the Japanese laboratory Takeda. It is composed of four different serotypes of the virus that causes the disease and is already being applied in two doses in the pediatric population over four years old, adolescents and adults up to 60 years old.

In addition, the Government created an Emergency Operations Center in mid-March to assist patients reporting symptoms. And it will have a biofactory to produce mosquitoes’aedes aegypti‘ contaminated with wolbachia, bacteria that prevents them from transmitting zika, dengue and chikungunya, with capacity to generate up to 100 million specimens of the insect per week.

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Argentina on the rise, Bolivia on the decline in dengue and chikungunya

In Argentina, there is a sustained increase in dengue cases, with five deaths so far. The Ministry of Health registered more than 6,700 new infections in the week of March 19 to 25 across the country, and there are 16,143 carriers of the disease in the first quarter of 2023, 10% below the number of people affected in the same period. period of 2020, when the last epidemic year occurred, reported Telam.

With regard to Chikungunya fever, 657 cases have been registered so far, of which 244 were contracted outside the country.

Faced with the worrying scenario, authorities from the Ministries of Health, Defense, Security and Science and Technology agreed to form territorial proximity brigades to carry out prevention, care and elimination of potential mosquito breeding sites.aedes aegypti‘.

On the other hand, the National Administration of Medicines, Foods and Medical Technology (Anmat) is already analyzing the effectiveness of the Japanese vaccine that is applied in Brazil, reported the TN channel.

Bolivia managed to reduce the number of infected that caused the collapse of the health system during the summer. There are 18,403 infections and the total number of deaths reaches 57, according to a Unitel balance sheet that includes official data.

The department of Santa Cruz is the most affected, with 12,632 cases, two thirds of the total.

Peru and a cellular control mechanism for dengue and chikungunya

Until March 31, Peru registered a total of 33,575 cases of dengue between confirmed and probable, and 36 deaths from complications of the disease, according to data from the National Center of Epidemiology, Prevention and Control of Diseases (CDC). -Peru).

In the Andean country, the National Institute of Health (INS) launched the mobile application Dengue Onqoy (disease in Quechua) to improve the monitoring and management of patients with the disease, mainly for medical professionals in rural areas of the north coast and jungle areas , where heavy rains, landslides and mudslides and rocks are concentrated.

The application contains information on complications, epidemiological data, videos and bibliographical information, such as scientific articles on dengue, which will enable health personnel to be trained and continue fighting the disease.“, highlighted the head of the INS, Víctor Suárez Moreno.

What is Dengue?

It is a febrile illness that affects infants, children and adults, and It is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito, of the species ‘aedes aegypti‘; it is never transmitted from person to person. That is, the insect can sting a sick person, become infected and then transmit the disease to another human being.

Dengue causes fever, nausea, rash, general weakness, muscle aches and headache. The eggs of the causative mosquito usually reproduce in accumulations of water present in buckets, cans, bottles, vases or old tires; For this reason, the authorities carry out fumigation campaigns.

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