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Guyana: Biggest dengue epidemic in 20 years

Guyana: Biggest dengue epidemic in 20 years

Guyana: Biggest dengue epidemic in 20 years

According to the Regional Health Agency (ARS), Guyana is facing its worst dengue epidemic in two decades, which began in mid-2023 and has accelerated since early January, with an average of 800 new cases being announced per week.

This virus, transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, for which the Higher Health Authority (HAS) does not recommend a vaccine, can cause hemorrhage or shock syndrome in the most severe cases. In tropical and intertropical regions such as Guyana, epidemics recur every three to five years and typically last between 12 and 18 months. Viral waves are more or less intense.

Since the beginning of 2023, the Amazon department of 300,000 inhabitants has reported 5,800 confirmed cases of dengue fever, including 2,996 in 2024, according to Public Health France. a week from the beginning of the year,” confirmed ARS Director Dmitry Grygovsky on February 6.

Two of the four existing dengue genotypes circulate simultaneously, contributing to the intensification of the epidemic, which is also favored by the rainy season, which increases the number of areas with standing water and, therefore, breeding sites for larvae. The impact on Guyana’s health system remained “relatively limited” last week, with the infection causing “8-10% more activity” in emergency situations at hospitals in Kourou and Cayenne.

Vehicles with expired service life were removed.

A monitoring group between government services and the Community of Guyana (CTG) was activated on February 6 to take action “to slow down this dynamic as much as possible,” noted Prefect Antoine Poussier.

The next day, a state representative signed an order to expedite the removal of end-of-life vehicles, which abound on roadsides and “are breeding grounds for mosquitoes that contribute to the spread of dengue fever.”

Epidemics are becoming closer and more intense

For its part, CTG has promised to “increase its human and material resources” in the field of mosquito control, in which it has competence. Its president, Gabriel Serville, speaks of “an epidemic on a scale we have not seen for about twenty years.”

According to the Pasteur Institute, dengue epidemics are becoming more frequent and intense, especially due to demographic pressure.

Climate change is also contributing to its spread, and the disease is “growing in strength, especially in southern Europe, even after the emergence of the tiger mosquito,” according to Christophe Peyrefitte, director of the Institut Pasteur de Cayenne. From 1 May to the end of October 2023, 36 local cases were reported on mainland France.

According to France 24, Brazil, Guyana’s neighbor, fears an unprecedented epidemic, especially in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Between 2000 and 2019, the number of reported cases worldwide increased 10-fold.

Source: Le Parisien

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