Dengue epidemic spreading in Central America

Tegucigalpa declares Red Alert due to haemorrhagic dengue outbreak

The dengue epidemic affecting El Salvador since last June is now spreading to other countries in Central America. Honduras is now being affected by a dengue outbreak. On October 5, the Metropolitan Health Region of Tegucigalpa declared the red alert due to an outbreak of haemorrhagic dengue in the country's capital.

The dengue outbreak in Honduras started on the week of August 14-20. The red alert was declared as most of the registered cases come from the metropolitan area of Tegucigalpa, capital of Honduras. With most cases in the north-west of the capital, in the neighbourhoods of Las Crucitas, el Eden, la Divanna and Colonia 3 de Mayo.

Epidemiological data from Honduras Tegucigalpa Metropolitan Health Region as of 10th October 10:

  • number of suspected cases: 64
  • number of confirmed cases: 20 (by serology)
  • number of deaths: one (less than 5 years-old)

     

    All cases are registed in children under 14 years old. Most cases have been treated at Hospital Escuela and Hospital Materno-Infantil.

    On Monday October 9, a Massive Mobilisation to control Haemorrhagic Dengue in Tegucigalpa was launched by the Ministry of Health Secretary at the Metropolitan Area level and is scheduled to last one month.

    Preventive activites will be developed by brigades for each of the 21 healthcare centres in the Metropolitan Health Region. Activities will include education and distribution of educational material in the communities and house to house larvaes treatment.

    The areas of intervention are in the North-West of the city, most affected by the epidemic: Villa Nueva, Los Pinos, Alonso Suazo, Nueva Suyapa, San Miguel, Las Crucitas, Alemania, San Francisco, 3 de Mayo.

    MSF activities

    MSF has visited the healthcare centre in Las Crucitas, where the only death so far due to haemorrhagic dengue has been registered, as well as 50% of registered cases. The idea was to carry out a quick evaluation of the situation.

    "We realised the population is not aware of the dengue emergency," said Alex Coll, General Coordinator of MSF's emergency intervention.
    The team has met the Metropolitan Health Region to learn more about the situation and to support the MoH in activities of dengue control to reduce morbility rates.

    "MSF has two teams working at present in Las Crucitas Health Centre," continued Coll. "We chose this health care centre because it is where the only death has been registered and is serving Colonia Santa Cecilia, the most affected area in Tegucigalpa."

    MSF teams are supporting the manipulation and transport of vector control material and the identification community leaders who can help with sprayings and community awareness campaigns. Community health education is also being carried out. MSF will print 8,000 leaflets on "Dengue Alert" to be distributed in the community. The leaflet explains signs and symptoms of Dengue and preventive measures.