Dengue on the rise in Guyana

Georgetown – Guyana has activated a technical working group (TWG) as the country so far this year has recorded a total of 2 169 confirmed dengue cases with 11 deaths.

The Ministry of Health in a statement said that 239 patients are hospitalised and that dengue is endemic to Guyana and the region of the Americas.

“Every few years there is a cyclical increase in dengue cases due to seasonal and climatic conditions amongst other factors. The region of the Americas has recorded a significant increase in dengue cases in the last few months.

“They have recorded 2 102 848 cases from January to June 2023, of which 3 210 were classified as severe dengue with 876 deaths. The highest number of cases within this region were observed in Brazil, Peru and Bolivia,” the ministry said in its statement.

Dengue is an acute febrile disease that is caused by the dengue virus which is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito. There are four serotypes of the dengue virus known as DENV 1-4, each of which can cause an infection. Re-infection with a different serotype from that of a previous infection can result in a more severe form of the disease.

The ministry said persons with dengue may experience fever, eye pain, muscle/joint pain, skin rash, and headache and generalised weakness. It warned that persons affected by severe dengue (haemorrhagic dengue) may develop complications that are associated with bleeding and clotting disorders.

The ministry said that in order to ensure the adequate prevention, diagnosis and management of dengue, Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, has activated the TWG responsible for assessing, recommending and implementing actions to mitigate this public health event.

It said as recommended by the TWG several of these measures include, a heightened public awareness campaign to promote environmental sanitation and hygienic practices, and, public awareness on the prevention of dengue and other mosquito borne diseases.

“To ensure prevention and a curb in transmission, several environmental and entomological measures have been increased across Guyana such as fogging (fumigation), residual spraying, home inspections and distribution of larvicidal chemicals to communities through the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NCDs). Notably, a second cycle of fogging (fumigation) has commenced in most regions.”

The ministry said that it has increased the procurement and distribution of rapid diagnostic test kits and other laboratory supplies and equipment to ensure adequate diagnostic capacity.

“Considering this disease does not have a cure, medication and medical supplies have been distributed in adequate quantity to all regions to ensure symptomatic treatment of all patients throughout the health care system in keeping with a revised national treatment guideline,” the ministry said, adding that the TWG will continue to assess the epidemiological situation and the progress of the implemented measures.

“All Guyanese are encouraged to do source reduction otherwise known as the elimination of mosquito breeding sites, especially around homes, schools and their surroundings. Importantly, containers such as bottles, buckets and old tyres should be inspected to ensure that they are covered, punctured or removed from your homes and community.” (CMC)

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