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Central and Latin America: Dengue Outbreak - Jun 2019

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Honduras is experiencing an outbreak of dengue fever. The number of cases began to climb as of April 2019, and by Epidemiological Week 23 (2-8 June) a total of 11,436 cases had been reported, of which 7,395 (64.7 per cent) were cases of dengue with no warning signs and 4,041 (35.3 per cent) were severe cases. So far 63 people are reported dead, of which 33 are laboratory-confirmed (1.55 per cent mortality) (see figure attached). During this same period, 12 departments (66.6 per cent of the entire country) reported high incidence of dengue. In view of this scenario, on 14 June the Government of Honduras declared a Health Emergency in these departments. The most affected departments are Cortés (4,200 cases), Yoro (1,083 cases), Olancho (855 cases) and Santa Bárbara (643 cases). If we add the 1,042 cases reported in the San Pedro Sula Metropolitan Region, we see that 75 per cent of all cases reported to date are in north-western Honduras (8,647 / 11,436 cases). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Honduras presents 77.5 per cent of dengue cases reported in America. (IFRC, 2 Jul 2019)

The Government is allocating more than US$10 million for public institutions to respond to the dengue outbreak currently gripping Honduras. Additionally, the Government will allocate more than $2 million to affected municipalities for dengue response. As of epidemiological week 29, Honduras has seen 33,840 cases, with 8,662 cases of severe dengue and 150 deaths. Of Honduras’ 32 public hospitals, 26 are overrun with cases; officials have postponed planned operations to manage the volume of cases. Health officials have not ruled out taking over schools to accommodate the increasing number of patients. With Honduras’ three-month rainy season set to begin, which will likely cause more mosquito activity, PAHO/ WHO estimates that the peak of the outbreak is still on the horizon, placing more importance on effective awareness and sanitation campaigns. (OCHA, 29 Jul 2019)

El Salvador
On 25 July, the Ministry of Health reported 8,893 cases so far this year, a 220 per cent increase from the 2,700 cases registered by in the same reporting period in 2018. There are nine deaths currently under investigation for suspected links to the disease. Hospitalizations are also up with 2,241 in 2019 compared to 643 in 2018. The Ministry is also reporting an 88 per cent increase in Zika cases and 64 per cent increase in Chikungunya cases. (OCHA, 29 Jul 2019)

The Ministry of Health reports that Guatemala has, as of 13 July, some 8,370 cases of dengue. Health authorities note that there have only been 38 cases of severe dengue, resulting in 27 deaths, including 18 children. Although the cases through 13 July are nearly double the cases in 13 July 2017, they are well below the peak of 19,700 cases through 13 July in 2014. Most cases are in the departments of Escuintla, Huehuetenango, Izabal, Quetzaltenango and San Marcos. (OCHA, 29 Jul 2019)

Central America is experiencing an outbreak of dengue fever since April 2019, with approximately 10,000 suspected cases reported across the region so far. The highest number is reported in Nicaragua with 49,929 suspected cases (of which 1,862 are laboratory-confirmed) and in Honduras with 34,840 cases (of which 58 are laboratory-confirmed deaths). (ECHO, 1 Aug 2019)

The cumulative incidence rate of dengue in the Central America region is higher than in the previous five years, with an incidence of more than 100 cases of dengue per 100,000 people. In Central America, as of epidemiological week (EW) 45 (4 to 10 November 2019), 349,076 people in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua have been reported to have dengue in 2019. Considering that dengue cases are typically under-reported (with a 14 to 28-time ratio), the number of people who have been infected with dengue is likely much higher. (IFRC, 25 Nov 2019)

The Americas reported more than 3 million cases of dengue in 2019, the largest number recorded in the Region so far, according to the latest epidemiological update from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). These figures exceeded the 2.4 million cases reported in 2015 during the previous largest dengue epidemic in the history of the Region. That year, almost 1400 people died of dengue....Given its large population, Brazil had 2,241,974 cases in 2019, 70% of the total reported in the Region, and more than half of all deaths from the disease. Mexico reported 268,458 cases, Nicaragua, 186,173 cases, Colombia, 127,553 cases, and Honduras, 112,708 cases. (PAHO, 12 Feb 2020)