The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has issued a warning regarding an increase in dengue cases in the Central American and Caribbean regions. They are urging countries to review their response plans and step up surveillance as the Southern Hemisphere’s summer season approaches. This year, the Americas reported approximately 3.4 million dengue cases, surpassing the previous record of 3.1 million cases in 2019. Brazil was the worst-hit country, followed by Peru and Bolivia. In addition, Brazil reported the highest number of severe cases, followed by Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Mexico. So far, America has reported 1,612 dengue deaths, resulting in a fatality rate of 0.05%.

In Central and North America, Nicaragua recorded the highest number of cases this year, with an 83 percent increase over the same period in 2022 and a 1.87-fold increase over the five-year average. Mexico also witnessed a significant increase in cases this year, tripling the number reported in 2022 and doubling the five-year average. Costa Rica and Guatemala also saw cases above 2022 and the five-year average.

In the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic, Martinique and Guadeloupe have been identified as major dengue hotspots. In the United States, Puerto Rico reported 374 locally acquired cases, with additional cases reported in Florida and Texas.

PAHO noted that the seasonal increase in dengue activity, together with the onset of the rainy season in the second half of 2023, has placed a burden on health systems in Central America and the Caribbean. This highlights the importance of countries preparing their health systems to cope with the expected increase in dengue cases as they enter the summer season.

Four new local dengue cases were reported in Florida in the latest weekly surveillance update. This brings the total number of cases for the year to 23. Most of the cases were reported in Miami-Dade County, with a few cases in Broward, Hardee and Polk counties. Two cases involved non-Florida residents.

Of the 22 samples that were analyzed, 17 infections were from dengue serotype 3, four from serotype 2, one from serotype 1, and one had an unknown serotype.

By Editor

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