Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Dengue cases in Mexico continue to explode; 74% are in Guerrero

Cases of dengue virus, a mosquito-borne tropical disease, continue to rise in Mexico with the state of Guerrero leading the way.

The weekly federal Health Ministry report indicated dengue cases have risen alarmingly through the first eight weeks of the year. The Health Ministry reported 5,439 confirmed cases through Feb. 25; there were just 958 cases during the first two months of 2023, an increase of 468%.

Residents and visitors of Guerrero, particularly Acapulco, are advised to seek medical care at the onset of symptoms. (@SSaludGro/X)

The virus is concentrated in five states: Guerrero is the hardest-hit state, with 2,071 confirmed cases, followed by Tabasco (961), Quintana Roo (428), Veracruz (299) and Colima (289). 

This rise comes on the heels of a steep hike in cases last year. The Health Ministry reported 52,443 cases in 2023 compared to just 12,335 cases during all of 2022, an increase of 325%. Deaths attributed to the disease also rose from 53 in 2022 to 203 last year.

On February 16, the Pan American Health Organization reported that 2023 was the worst year on record for dengue in the Americas, with more than 4.5 million cases and 2,340 deaths across the region. Apart from Mexico, ten other countries reported an increase in dengue cases in the first five weeks of 2024.

Dengue — also known as breakbone fever due to the severity of the muscle spasms and joint pain it can cause — is typically asymptomatic, though common symptoms include high fever, headache, body aches, nausea and rash. Most victims recover in one to two weeks, but the infection is particularly dangerous to children and young adults.

Guerrero has experienced the most dramatic increase in dengue cases primarily because of Hurricane Otis. (Galo Cañas/Cuartoscuro)

A small proportion of cases develop into a more severe dengue hemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage.

Guerrero has experienced the most dramatic increase primarily because of Hurricane Otis which made landfall near Acapulco on Oct. 25. Lack of potable water, the state’s tropical climate and accumulated trash and standing water have contributed to the dengue outbreak in the beach resort.

The impact was noticeable in the first two months after the Category 5 hurricane slammed into the Guerrero coast. The Health Ministry’s epidemiological center reported 2,036 cases during the November-December period, 901 of which were registered as serious. During the final two months of 2022, roughly 200 cases were identified.

The rise in dengue cases in Guerrero is not limited to Acapulco. Surrounding neighborhoods have been especially affected, as have several of the state’s coastal municipalities, including Marquelia, San Marcos and Florencia Villareal.

Guerrero’s Health Ministry (SSG) has redoubled efforts to address the outbreak. As of Feb. 15, SSG personnel had fumigated 261,160 houses and nearly 60,000 hectares had been treated with a nebulized solution.

The SSG encouraged the public to visit health clinics if symptomatic, avoid self-medication and cooperate with SSG personnel working to control the outbreak.

With reports from Reforma and Sipse.com

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