The Rise of Dengue Cases in Central America and the Caribbean

The Rise of Dengue Cases in Central America and the Caribbean

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has issued an epidemiologic alert regarding the increasing number of dengue cases in Central America and the Caribbean regions. With the Southern Hemisphere’s summer season approaching, PAHO is urging countries to review their response plans and enhance surveillance to effectively manage and contain the disease.

So far this year, there have been approximately 3.4 million reported cases of dengue in the Americas, surpassing the record of 3.1 million cases recorded in 2019. Brazil has been the most severely affected country in 2023, followed by Peru and Bolivia. Brazil has also reported the highest number of severe cases, with Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Mexico following suit. The Americas have also witnessed 1,612 dengue-related deaths, resulting in a case-fatality rate of 0.05%.

In Central and North America, Nicaragua has experienced the highest number of dengue cases this year, marking an 83% increase compared to the same period in 2022 and 1.87 times higher than the five-year average. Mexico has witnessed triple the number of cases compared to last year and double the five-year average. Costa Rica and Guatemala have also observed higher-than-average cases compared to 2022 and the five-year average.

In the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic, Martinique, and Guadeloupe have emerged as regions heavily affected by dengue. In the United States, Puerto Rico has reported 374 locally acquired cases, with additional cases reported in Florida and Texas.

PAHO has emphasized the strain on healthcare systems in Central America and the Caribbean due to the rising activity and the onset of the rainy season in the latter half of 2023. The organization urges countries to ensure that their healthcare systems are adequately prepared to handle the anticipated surge in dengue cases during the summer season.

In Florida, there have been four new local dengue cases reported in the latest weekly surveillance update, bringing the total for the year to 23. Most of these cases were reported in Miami-Dade County, with a few cases in Broward, Hardee, and Polk counties. Interestingly, two of the cases involved non-Florida residents.

Out of 22 samples analyzed, dengue serotype 3 accounted for 17 infections, while serotype 2, serotype 1, and an unknown serotype were responsible for four, one, and one infection, respectively.

Dengue, also known as “breakbone fever,” is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes of the Aedes genus. The virus has four distinct serotypes and can range from mild to severe, potentially leading to dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome.

Source: Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and Florida Department of Health.

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