Upsurge in Dengue cases likely in the Caribbean, warns PAHO

The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) has come out with a warning for the Caribbean and the Americas.

Upsurge in Dengue cases likely in the Caribbean, warns PAHO
Upsurge in Dengue cases likely in the Caribbean, warns PAHO

The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) has come out with a warning for the Caribbean and the Americas, stating that the region is under threat due to a rise in dengue cases which is expected to increase exponentially in the near future.

More specifically, PAHO has highlighted Barbados, Martinique and Guadeloupe as the most likely to be affected as of now, with the likelihood that the entire region could feel the effects of the mosquito-borne disease soon.

The organisation has highlighted the fact that till March 26th, 2024, the region has seen over 3.5 million cases, which has resulted in more than 1,000 deaths.

Dr Jarbas Barbosa, the Director of PAHO, stated, “This is cause for concern, as it represents three times more cases than those reported for the same period in 2023, a record year with more than 4.5 million cases reported in the region.”

PAHO has also revealed that the rise in dengue cases in the Latin American and Caribbean region has had a drastic effect on Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, as the three nations account for 92% of the total infections and 87% of the total lives lost.

The extended transmission season has been accredited with this rise as the southern hemisphere became the ideal breeding ground for the Aedes aegypti mosquito vector of dengue, which thrives in warm and wet conditions.

Barbosa is profoundly concerned with developments in other nations which are now have he potential to add to these figures significantly.

She highlighted the following nations in a statement, “We are also seeing an uptick in cases in countries such as Barbados, Costa Rica, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Martinique and Mexico, where transmission is usually higher in the second half of the year.”

The recent detection of mosquito vectors and cases in regions which otherwise do not have issues with dengue has brought to light the extent to which the disease could expand in the current season.

Rising temperatures, extreme weather events and the El Niño phenomenon are seen as the primary factors that have contributed to the spread of the disease. Poor housing conditions due to unplanned urbanization and the rising population, coupled with improper water and sanitation services have resulted in the formation of perfect breeding grounds for mosquitos, especially when it rains and water collects easily.

PAHO has issued nine epidemiological alerts in the last 12 months, which was a result of the organisation’s extensive surveillance program, keeping a constant eye on the dengue and facilitating disease prevention and control in member states.

It must also be noted that all four dengue serotypes have been recorded in the region which raises the risk of epidemics by a significant degree. 21 nations in the region are known to have two or more dengue serotypes cycling through them simultaneously.

Thus, the Director of PAHO believes it is of the utmost importance that steps are taken by all the nations in the region which have been affected by dengue or are at risk, to ensure that their populations are protected and the disease is contained.