Concern among doctors about the increase in serious cases of dengue in Cuba

Concern among doctors about the increase in serious cases of dengue in Cuba

The spread of dengue in Cuba in recent weeks has forced the Government to approve a backup plan against the disease, this Tuesday. According to official figures, provided by the Ministry of Public Health, if the incidence rate in April was 12.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, in June it reached 46.3, something to which the Deputy Minister of Health, Carilda Peña Garcia, referred to as “intense transmission.”

Between the months of April and June, 21,505 outbreaks of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that transmits the disease, more than in the same period of the previous year.

Although last week the rate fell to 27.91 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, doctors and ordinary citizens confirm that the situation is serious.

“We are alarmed,” an internist at the Manuel Fajardo hospital in Havana told this newspaper. “What we are seeing this year is not the usual.” He refers to the number of patients who are developing severe or hemorrhagic dengue, which can be fatal, and details: “In previous epidemics, perhaps 10% of cases, approximately, had warning signs (those that alert you that the patient is not doing well), but now it is more than 30%”.

The doctor explains that the dengue virus has four serotypes, that is, four variants: “When you get infected with a serotype, it leaves you with immunity for that serotype in the long term, and for the others in the short term. But if after three months you If you infect with a different serotype, you will most likely develop a severe form”.

“We are alarmed,” an internist at the Manuel Fajardo hospital in Havana told this newspaper. “What we are seeing this year is not the usual”

In their meeting this Tuesday, the health authorities did not refer to hemorrhagic dengue, which in recent days has claimed life of adults and children. The Minister of Health, José Ángel Portal Miranda, did report that 32 patients are admitted to intensive care rooms, 29 of them in serious condition and 3 in critical condition.

At the end of last week, according to official figures, there is transmission of the virus in eight provinces (Pinar del Río, Havana, Matanzas, Villa Clara, Camagüey, Las Tunas, Holguín and Guantánamo), “in 16 municipalities and 23 areas of health”.

Regarding the variants of the virus, Portal Miranda reported that serotype 1 was detected in the provinces of Havana, Camagüey and Las Tunas; serotype 2, in Havana, Villa Clara, Sancti Spíritus and Camagüey, and serotype 3, in Havana and Camagüey, the two provinces with the most worrying situation.

What the minister did not say either is that reagents are lacking in health centers, essential in this disease, the internist warns 14ymedio, “to assess coagulation”.

Juan Carlos, a young resident of Centro Habana, suffered from it in his flesh and, feeling bad, went to Manuel Fajardo and they were unable to do the corresponding exams. He was sent home with the recommendation to rest. Two days later, he had to come back, with pain in his abdomen that he couldn’t stand. So, they did test him and let him stay. The diagnosis: “dengue with alarm symptoms”. “The question is if there had been reagents for my blood tests a couple of days ago, perhaps they would have acted in time,” lamented Juan Carlos.

The truth is that little can be done against dengue, as it is a virus, other than hydration and rest. To take medications, at most, paracetamol for pain and fever.

The plan approved this Tuesday focuses on the fight against the vector that transmits the disease, the Aedes aegypti, of which 11,551 outbreaks were registered in 71 municipalities classified as high risk.

What the minister did not say either is that there is a lack of reagents in health centers, essential in this disease, the internist warns 14ymedio, “to evaluate coagulation”

Among the 20 measures included in the document are “intensifying the biological treatment with fish in large water tanks”, carrying out “anti-vector actions in abandoned premises”, reviewing and treating “one hundred percent of the elevated tanks” and carrying out ” the intradomiciliary adulticide treatment by radio whipping”, that is, fumigation.

This same Tuesday, in neighborhoods like Nuevo Vedado, fumigation fumes were felt.

The doctor at the Manuel Fajardo hospital, like many of his colleagues, is pessimistic: “The problem is general and there is no medium-term solution.”

To make matters worse, the growth in cases of covid-19 on the island has caused the health authorities to return to different measures to avoid contagion. The most notorious, the mandatory use of a mask in means of transport and in children’s circles.

In addition, the Government warns, the second vaccination booster will be applied to Cubans between 19 and 49 years old and the first booster to children between 2 and 11 years old, with the national Soberana or Abdala antidotes, which have not yet been approved. by the World Health Organization.

The dire state of the former jewel in the crown of Castro propaganda is completed with the information provided this Tuesday by BioCubaFarma: there is a deficit of basic medicines of almost 40%.

The vice president of the state pharmaceutical company, Tania Urquiza Rodríguez, recalled at a press conference that there is a “complex situation” since 2021, and argued that “most of the financing was dedicated to confronting covid and for the development and production of vaccines”.

He also blamed the United States embargo on Cuba, without mentioning that it allows the purchase of medicines – just like food, as long as they are paid in cash in advance – and that they could buy the active ingredients in countries like China or Indiawith which the Island has free commercial exchanges.

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