|DR1.com - Fears of a dengue fever outbreak have once again hit the Dominican Republic. Public Health Minister Bautista Rojas Gomez assured citizens that the National Epidemiology System is on full alert. So far this year 26 deaths have been directly linked with dengue fever, which is transmitted by the Aegis Aegypti mosquito. Listin Diario reports that last week alone 25 children were taken to the Robert Reid hospital, and of those children 60% were diagnosed with a severe strain of dengue, which can be fatal if left untreated. That particular hospital has treated 74 children for dengue during the month of October. The increase in dengue cases has been dramatic. In September 2008 hospitals only registered 88 dengue cases, while in September 2009 they recorded 217 new dengue cases. The director of the Robert Reid Children's Hospital, Emilio Mena Castillo, says the hospital is receiving between 10 and 12 new cases every day.
Dengue death rate too high
The Dominican Republic's death rate from dengue is 15% higher than the accepted average. International organizations quote 1% as the typical death rate for victims of the mosquito-borne disease, but in the Dominican Republic the fatality rate is currently at 16%, with 27 deaths out of 3,700 suspected cases. Yesterday, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) representative for the DR, Cristina Noguiera, said that she was worried about the situation and attributed the high number of fatalities to poor handling of the cases. She also pointed to the lack of potable water and deficiencies in hygiene and garbage collections in the country. Noguiera said that a lack of basic hygiene in the Dominican Republic allows mosquitoes to breed, and she called on mayors to help in the fight to eliminate breeding areas. She added that "if there is adequate handling of cases, only 1% of the patients might die, and the nearly 16% that we have in the Dominican Republic is really pitiful". Public Health Minister Bautista Rojas Gomez reminded reporters of the long-standing campaigns that emphasize the use of covers and chlorine in water storage vessels. He also mentioned the poor handling of some cases, such as a child who was brought to Santo Domingo from La Romana by car, with a blocked saline drip. The boy died as he reached the Children's Hospital, and the case is under investigation.
HAVANA, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Dominican health authorities said Friday that without public support, it would be impossible to curb the dengue outbreak in the country, which has killed 27 people, reports reaching here said.
Nelson Rodriguez, vice health minister, urged "all sectors" to be involved in the official campaign to eliminate the breeding places of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, carrier of dengue.
The Dominican authorities said the infected cases had so far risen to nearly 4,000, forcing the government to declare an epidemic alert on Monday.
Rodriguez said that cleaning the environment was the basic step to stop the mosquitoes from breeding, which requires support from governments, schools, organizations and citizens.
The dengue virus type 1, type 2 and type 4 are in circulation, indicating that more people are likely to be infected, said Cristina Nogueira, representative of the Pan American Health Organization in the Dominican Republic.