Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dengue and Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreaks in Zacapa, Poptun, Santa Elena, San Benito

The health department of Zacapa reports five cases hemorrhagic dengue fever. Four are getting outpatient treatment and one, a 13 year old boy, is hospitalized. The teen's mother saw he was bleeding from the nose and brought him in to the hospital.

The reports from Zacapa began last week with several suspected cases but it was only confirmed today that they have hemorrhagic dengue fever. Prior to last week, only Izabal and Peten had reported cases of hemorrhagic fever. The situation may change since more samples are being analyzed at the National Epidemiology Center in Guatemala City. The clinics in Zacapa have seen a total of 23 cases of dengue.

Disease vector abatement teams are now working areas of Zacapa, starting with the homes of those with the disease, removing places where water can collect, where mosquitos lay eggs, and they plan to fumigate 27,000 homes.

Health Authorities Poptún, Petén, declared a red alert due to an outbreak of dengue hemorrhagic fever in this region because of difficulties that face the abatement teams in carrying out fumigation. There are 29 reported cases and hundreds of unreported cases. One young woman has died from hemorrhagic dengue.

There are 10 suspected cases of the hemorrhagic form of dengue fever in the regional hospital in San Benito. The governor of Peten said that despite the difficulties, work is proceeding on junk removal, removal of places where water collects, and fumigation in the neighborhoods of San Benito and Santa Elena Flores. More than 150 cases of dengue have been reported in the Flores / San Benito area plus an unknown number of unreported cases.

The hospital in San Benito is presently overcrowded with patients, due to the surge of people who have symptoms of dengue fever. The hospital is attempting to acquire more supplies and equipment.

The coordinator of the disease vector unit in Flores reports they have 14 sprayers and vaporizers and they have 100 communities to service. At the present rate, they will run out of insecticide in one more week.

As a consequence of the red alert conditions, the national emergency agency, Conred, has activated its Emergency Operations Committee.

For its part, Geovany Martinez, delegate of the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conrad) in that department, reported on the activation of the Emergency Operations Committee (COE), in order to enact a red alert following the death of a young woman in the town of Poptun. He noted that no information on 29 cases of classical dengue and hundreds of suspects.

Gonzalo Palacios, delegate of the PDH in Poptún, blames the surge in cases of classic dengue and hemorrhagic dengue in the Poptun area on the month long strike by the disease vector abatement workers. The workers were demanding the removal of the health director in that region and during the month long strike, no fumigation or abatement work was carried out. As a result, we have an outbreak of dengue.