What you need to know about dengue in the DR

What you need to know about dengue in the DR

A disease behaves like an epidemic when the number of cases occurs above those expected, depending on the size of the nation or in countries with a wide territorial expansion, region or province.

In the last four years, approximately between 1,200 and 2,000 cases of dengue have been registered in the Dominican Republic, showing a similar behavior year after year.

“If, for example, in one year eight thousand cases are triggered, then we are talking about an epidemiological year,” explains Dr. Carlos Sánchez, from the Policlínica Zona E of the National Health Service.

The epidemiologist clarifies that dengue is a endemic disease in Dominican territory, since it is present all the time thanks to the combination of three factors: the mosquito Aedes aegypti which serves as a vector; the virus that causes the disease and a population susceptible to it.

In the Dominican Republic, up to four variants have been determined and since they are different strains, the same person can repeat the disease.

“If a person has never had dengue, they are more vulnerable, at any age and with any variant. The mosquito it does not produce dengue, it is the transmitter by sucking the blood of an infected person and biting another,” Sánchez said.

The most common symptoms of dengue are: fever, muscle pain, rash, nausea, vomiting, headache, and pain behind the eyes.

“We are not in a complicated situation, nor on alert”Ronald SkewesGeneral Director of Epidemiology

watch out for the rain

Originally, the mosquito does not inhabit cold places. With climate change, the territory of dengue has been expanding, making places that were previously cold, such as the United States, now present cases of dengue.

Dr. Sánchez recalls that the mosquito reproduces in Water clean stagnant water, not in dirty water or flowing rivers.

“Where it falls Waterthe mosquito it reproduces more easily, that is why it is important to check the patio, the roof, the bushes such as bromeliads, gums, pots, jars, vases, abandoned pools, that is wealth for the mosquito”, added the epidemiologist.

Fumigation can also be used as a second alternative after having eliminated all mosquito breeding sites.

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Lack of Water potable

The president of the Dominican Medical College (CMD), Senén Caba, understands that the root of a possible dengue outbreak lies in the poor supply network of Water drinking water that forces 36% of the population to store the liquid in tanks, which is where mosquito breeding sites originate.

While the epidemiologist and director of the Robert Reid Cabral children’s hospital, Clemente Terrero, acknowledges that the behavior of dengue is fluctuating, at times the cases rise and at others they fall.

“An increase in the number of dengue cases in the country has been announced in relation to last year. This increase has not been reflected in significant terms in the hospital”, said the specialist.

Terrero understands that even if an outbreak has not been declared, “it is good to have that vision because one prepares for the future and can have the opportunity to handle those events before they occur.”

Current cases of dengue

As of week nine of this year 2022, 665 cases of dengue have been reported in the Dominican Republic, 27% more than the same period in 2021.

“What we have to see is how the cases are behaving with respect to history. For that, we have what is called the endemic corridor”, said the National Director of Epidemiology, Ronald Skewes.

infographic
Historic Dengue Corridor (CLAUDIA FERNANDEZ)

The broker collects data for up to five years, which allows the behavior of the virus to be visualized in a single graph.

The green zone is a security zone, the yellow zone is an alert zone, and the red zone is already an epidemic.

“Last year, from week 36-37 to 50, we were in the alarm zone and that’s where it started to drop. This year, 2022, the curve has been maintained with less than 100 weekly cases. We are in a safe zone,” Skewes added.

In the first seven weeks of this year, seven people died from the disease.

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