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ACAPS Briefing Note: Dominican Republic - Dengue Fever (16 September 2019)

Rep. Dominicana
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Dominican Republic is one of several Central American countries experiencing an outbreak of Dengue fever. Since 21 July 2019 a high increase in new cases has been recorded. On 6 September the Ministry of Health reported more than 8,855 (suspected) cases from 1 January 2019 to 17 August 2019, including 189 cases of severe dengue. This marks an increase of 1,145% in reported cases compared to the in 2018 (711 cases). As of 9 September, a minimum of 12 deaths have been reported.
The impact of the current outbreak on the health infrastructure outbreak remains unclear.

Crisis impact

Since April 2019, Central America has been experiencing an outbreak of dengue fever (PAHO, accessed 09/09/2019). As stated by the Ministerio de Salud Publica (Ministry of Public Health) on 6 September, the Dominican Republic accounts for 8,855 suspected cases, including 189 severe dengue cases from 1 January 2019 to 17 August (epidemiological week (EW) 1 2018 to EW 33 2019). There is no information publicly made available on the confirmed cases (Ministerio de Salud Publica 06/09/2019). The Dominican Medical College states that the caseload published by the government is incorrect and understated due to political sensitivities (elections are scheduled for 17 May 2020) and economic (tourism) aspects (Key Informant; Dominican Today 06/09/2019). The actual number of cases as well as the impact remains challenging to estimate.
The dengue situation in Dominican Republic is getting more severe as the rate of new potential cases reported is rapidly increasing (see Fig.1). Compared with 17 August 2018, when the year’s cumulative caseload stood at 711, the cumulative caseload as at 17 August 2019 marks an increase of 1,145%. The number of dengue cases in 2019 to date has already surpassed the number of cases from the past five years combined.
Especially in August 2019, the trend accelerated. In the four weeks from 21 July to 10 August more than 3,160 dengue cases were recorded, 35% of all cases recorded in 2019 (Ministerio de Salud Publica 06/09/2019; Government of Honduras (GoH) 09/09/2019; La Prensa 04/09/2019).