Chance of dengue epidemic remains
26 Nov, 2010, 10:54 (GMT -04:00)
Minister of National health Richard Visser (left) and an expert from Paho during a press conferenceORANJESTAD — The number of dengue reports increased with almost 30 percent since last week. What’s more, the patients are sicker than previous years. The Healthcare Directorate stated this in a press conference this morning. They maintain their warning for an epidemic.
The reason that these cases are more serious now, is that 50% of the patients have already had dengue before. Some have even had it for the third time, according to Maribel Tromp, head of the epidemiology department of the Public Health Directorate. This leads to more hospital admissions and patients even ending up on the intensive care ward.
254 Suspected cases of dengue were reported to the Department Contagious Diseases between October and November. Since the past week, this number has increased to 538. “After laboratory research, 122 patients were officially diagnosed with dengue,” says Tromp.
She indicates that these figures are not realistic enough. “We still receive reports of dengue later than desired so that we constantly are overtaken by developments. This explains why we encourage doctors in particular to report possible dengue cases as quickly as possible. If we possess accurate figures, we can order the correct medicines. Two weeks ago, there were 80 reports in one week. We are going all out now in order to avoid getting 100 reports within one week.” In 2008 and 2009, the government received 400 to 500 new reports per week, according to Tromp. For that matter, the government speaks of an epidemic if they register 1000 dengue cases.
Yellow Fever Mosquitoes Combating (GKMB) started spraying last week, an employee said at the press conference. They are currently spraying in Noord and Oranjestad. The neighborhood of San Nicolas and Savaneta has already been sprayed. Spraying is the last resort for the government against a dengue epidemic. The spraying agent doesn’t’ kill the eggs and larvas, only the adult dengue mosquitoes. Breeding places must be removed to make sure the mosquitoes do not multiply. People were reminded during the press conference that every resident is responsible for this around his/her own house.
A specialist from the world health organization Paho was also present at the press conference this morning. According to him, the Caribbean area will be seriously affected by dengue this year. He spoke of 100,000 dengue cases in the entire Caribbean this year, while this is normally around 20,000 cases. Comparatively speaking, it’s not that bad on Aruba. According to the Paho-expert, this is because Aruba has experienced a long drought this year. “It only started pouring during the last two months. Since then, the dengue figures are drastically increasing on Aruba.”