Saturday, January 4, 2014

Dengue Fever still claims lives in Mérida, but far fewer

Stats for 2013 show much improvement over the previous reporting year

Downtown Mérida, where the concept of storm sewers is unknown - September 2010

Mérida, Yucatán -
It's raining cats and dogs these days in Merida (best translated as está lloviendo a cántaros - leave the gatos and perros out of it), and that's not good news for municipal dengue eradication efforts.

Mexico's National Epidemiological Control Center, a subdivision of the Federal Health Department, has reported that two Yucatán residents died from dengue in the last week of December, raising the state's yearly total to seven. A total of 2,758 cases of the illness were diagnosed in Yucatán in 2013.

But those numbers were excellent compared to 2012, when 5,654 cases were diagnosed, with an officially reported 19 deaths. Dengue Fever roars on in Yucatán and all of Mexico, rising almost 300% since 2011 (July 25, 2012).

Yucatán's state secretary of health attributed the improvement to the government's ongoing anti-dengue campaign, with heavy emphasis on maintaining clean, trash-free properties and eliminating standing water to the greatest extent possible - not always an easy task in Mérida, given peninsular climatic patterns. The state has heavily invested in the application of insecticides to kill the disease bearing mosquito as well.

Yucatán spent almost 10 million pesos on dengue eradication programs in 2013 - more than three quarters of a million dollars.

The basics of dengue, as MGR reported on Mar. 12, 2012,

"Dengue fever, also known as breakbone fever, is an infectious tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles. In a small proportion of cases the disease develops into the life-threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, or into dengue shock syndrome, where dangerously low blood pressure occurs.

"Dengue is transmitted by several species of mosquito, principally Aedes aegypti. The virus has four different types. Infection with one type usually gives lifelong immunity to that type, but only short-term immunity to the others. Subsequent infection with a different type increases the risk of severe complications. As there is no vaccine, prevention is sought by reducing the habitat and the number of mosquitoes and limiting exposure to bites.

"Treatment of acute dengue is supportive, using either oral or intravenous rehydration for mild or moderate disease, and intravenous fluids and blood transfusion for more severe cases. The incidence of dengue fever has increased dramatically since the 1960s, with around 50–100 million people infected yearly. Early descriptions of the condition date from 1779, and its viral cause and the transmission were elucidated in the early 20th century. Dengue has become a global problem since the Second World War and is endemic in more than 110 countries."

Jalisco has dengue worries, too. In fact, a recent government report indicated that the 2013 incidence of the disease was much higher there than in Yucatán.

Feb. 24 - Dengue Fever ranking has Jalisco authorities concerned
Mar. 16 - Mexican public health expert warns of national Dengue outbreak

© MGRR 2014. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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