Latin America and the Caribbean experiences record dengue cases

June 24, 2024  -The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has announced that Latin America and the Caribbean have reported 9.3 million cases of dengue so far this year, which is double the number reported for all of 2023.

Despite this surge, PAHO’s epidemiological update shows that the fatality rate remains below the regional goal of 0.05 percent.

PAHO Director Jarbas Barbosa stated, “While we are seeing a notable increase in the number of dengue cases in the region this year, it is important to highlight that the proportion of cases that progress to death remains low thanks to countries’ efforts and the support of PAHO.”

“This situation highlights the importance of sustaining surveillance, strengthening prevention and control measures, and ensuring timely medical care.”

Increase caused by environmental changes

So far in 2024, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have reported over 9,500 cases of severe dengue (0.10 percent) and just over 4,500 deaths (a fatality rate of 0.048 percent).

Countries such as Jamaica, Guyana, Dominican Republic, and Trinidad have all reported cases of dengue over the last six months.

Compared to the same period in 2023, all countries have seen an increase in cases. This rise can be linked to several factors, including the territorial expansion of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, its primary vector. The mosquito has spread to new areas, potentially due to factors like El Niño and climate change.

Additionally, rapid unplanned urban expansion and population growth, along with poor water and sanitation services, have created favorable conditions for mosquito proliferation in discarded objects and containers that accumulate water.

Moreover, limited contact between humans and the dengue virus, due to confinement measures and travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, may have increased the number of susceptible people.

As the peak season for dengue circulation approaches in the northern hemisphere, PAHO is urging countries and territories to intensify their efforts in detecting and preventing cases.

PAHO advises governments to raise community awareness about eliminating breeding sites, adopt personal protective measures to avoid mosquito bites, and ensure timely and appropriate medical care for patients.

Individuals are also encouraged to seek immediate medical attention at any sign of alarm and take personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites.

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