Guyana
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“Drastic reduction” in dengue cases recorded – Health Minister

After weeks of rising cases and some fatalities, Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony has disclosed, there is a drastic reduction in the number of dengue cases being detected in the country.
Last month, over 2,100 confirmed cases of dengue were reported in Guyana, of which more than 230 patients were hospitalised. In addition, 11 dengue-related deaths have been recorded for the year – six of which were children.
However, interventions by the Government, including a nationwide fogging exercise, have resulted in a major decrease in cases.

Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony

“What we’ve actually seen is cases coming down. We did a lot of work on fogging, which means that we’re killing a lot of the adult mosquitoes that are the main infector for transmission. And we’ve done a lot of work in killing the larvae, because we’ve been distributing something called Abate to different households,” Dr. Anthony told reporters on the sidelines of an event on Wednesday.
According to the Minister, the Ministry had a team make checks, and it was found that there has been a substantial decline in the mosquito population. This he attributed to the extensive fogging exercise, which saw three cycles, and in some areas four cycles – of fogging being done.

“That has contributed to this drastic reduction of mosquitoes. So, we’re seeing corresponding data that the cases are falling,” Dr Anthony has stated.
In addition, the Health Ministry has increased the number of tests being done in every region. As a matter of fact, rapid testing kits have been distributed to all 10 administrative regions.
“So, they’re doing more testing, but they are not seeing as much cases…[and] we don’t have a lot of people hospitalised,” Minister Anthony related.
Despite the rate of dengue cases in Guyana being above normal since March, Advisor to the Health Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, had stated earlier in August that the situation does not yet need to be classified as a crisis.
Nevertheless, a technical working group has been activated to assess, recommend and implement actions to mitigate this public health threat, in order to ensure the adequate prevention, diagnosis, and management of dengue.
Further, to ensure prevention and a curb in transmission, several environmental and entomological measures have been increased across Guyana, such as fogging (fumigation), residual spraying, home inspections, and distribution of larvicidal chemicals to communities through the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs).
The Health Ministry had also increased the procurement and distribution of rapid diagnostic testing kits and other laboratory supplies and equipment to ensure adequate diagnostic capacity.
Only last month, the Ministry said, it was seriously considering the use of vaccines to curb the spike in dengue cases, but was awaiting official word from the World Health Organization (WHO), which was analysing data at the time. Neither the WHO, the US Centers for Disease Control, nor the European Union regulatory authorities have recommended these vaccines for universal administration.
Dengue is a viral infection that spreads from mosquitoes to people. Most people who get dengue will not exhibit symptoms, according to WHO, but for those who do, the most common symptoms are high fever, headaches, body aches, nausea and rashes.
If left untreated, dengue can be fatal in a matter of hours. It is transmitted by the aedes aegypti mosquito – the same vector that transmits Zika and Chikungunya. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, rash, nausea, or vomiting. The Health Ministry has cautioned against self-medicating.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, as at 23 August, over 3.7 million cases and over 2,000 dengue-related deaths have been reported from 70 countries/territories globally. (G-8)