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Cuba on High Alert as Dengue Epidemic Breaks Out Amid Economic Crisis

Representative image. (Image: Reuters)

Representative image. (Image: Reuters)

People suspected of being infected with dengue fever have posted on social media that other places been set up at different hospitals because their wards couldn’t deal with so many patients.

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Despite an increase in the number of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes because of rain, high temperature and problems with urban sanitation, Cuba’s health authorities are trying to uphold actions to try and control the plague amid economic restrictions.

People suspected of being infected with dengue fever have posted on social media that other places been set up at different hospitals, because their wards couldn’t deal with so many patients.

Sources close to the health sector have said that many hospitals have created specific rooms for patients under observation. Not only that, some general hospitals have even prepared rooms for teenagers because pediatric institutions were overwhelmed.

While Cuban health authorities haven’t used the term “epidemic”, they have announced high levels of mosquito infestation.

Dr. Dalsy Torres Avila, director at the Manuel Fajardo University Hospital, told local press in late September that in spite of the economic problem they are facing, there has been a great effort to ensure all of the resources needed to prevent conditions that encourage Aedes aegypti proliferation and transmission of dengue fever.

An expert has further pointed out that the mosquitoes are adapting. While they didn’t survive at altitudes greater than 1200 meters above sea level, now they are wreaking havoc at over 1700 m.

Without the Aedes aegypti mosquito, there is no transmission of any arbovirus the expert pointed out.

Doctor Carilda Pena, the national director of Vector Surveillance and Control at the Public Health Ministry further said that this is the most dangerous time because it’s when factors that encourage concentrations of Aedes aegypti increase. She further pointed out that there are highlevels of mosquito infestation across the entire country because of more water tanks and greater levels of waste creation.

Cuba’s health system is not only working to detect and wipe out concentration grounds, but also to isolate the possibly sick.

According to the national director of Vector Surveillance and Control, control measures are being implemented in every Cuban municipality, but greater emphasis is being placed where there are greater sightings of the vector.

She added that increased measures have been taken against the adult mosquito in the 36 municipalities that display higher levels of infestation, including all of Havana’s municipalities.

While the authorities’ call to wipe out breeding ground or possible source of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, people often refuse to have their homes fumigated or inspected, announced Marcos Gonzalez, who works on the campaign.


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