Central America is facing its worst dengue epidemic since 2008, according to the Panamerican Health Organisation. The organisation highlighted the presence of a very aggressive breed which has spread rapidly thoughout the region during the current rainy season. So far this year, the disease has claimed almost 50 lives and infected almost 94,000 people in Central America.
According to official figures, dengue has caused at least 49 deaths in Central America: 27 in Honduras, 13 in Nicaragua, six in Guatemala, and three in El Salvador. Although Costa Rica has not registered any deaths from dengue, there are a total of 42,600 infected in the country. This is the highest figure registered in the country over the past few years and the highest figure in the region.
This Thursday, the Nicaraguan government announced a red health alert and said that the country´s dengue epidemic must be treated as a “situation of serious disaster” after 13 Nicaraguans died from the disease and 57 other were hospitalised in “critical condition”, according to presidential spokeswoman, Rosario Murillo.
She announced that the death of a 15 year old in Managua bought the death toll up to 13, six of these deaths occurred over the last week.
The red alert implies the implementation of a series of necessary actions for the “preservation of life”. Around 5,000 health staff and community teams will go from house to house to try and identify people with symptoms of dengue and take them to hospital. These volunteers will also engage in fumigation tasks, distribution of larvicide and the cleaning of potential mosquito breeding nests. The fumigation teams will mainly be concentrated in the capital where the epidemic is strongest.
The Honduran health authorities of San Pedro Sula have also declared a ‘medical emergency’ given that, compared to the same period last year, the number of dengue cases has tripled to reach 32,000 people.
The mosquito whch trasmits the disease is the aedes aegypti. It lives within people’s houses, breeding in clean still water such as in vases and plant pots, egg shells and car wheels.