It is imperative that authorities take action to curb the spread of dengue | Minsa | Epidemic | Summer | Temperature | OPINION

We all remember the havoc that dengue caused in our country last year. Hospitals collapsed, classes were suspended, the Ministry of Health (Minsa) reported 441 deaths for 2023 and highest death rate The diseases in Latin America – along with Venezuela – are a grim reminder of what can happen when this evil gets out of control. Therefore, it was to be expected that the authorities had learned their lessons to prevent a repetition of a tragedy such as the one that particularly befell the northern coastal regions of Peru.

However, the first reports for 2024 are cause for concern. Yesterday, this newspaper reported that, according to the National Center for Epidemiology, Prevention and Control (CDC), in the first four epidemiological weeks of the year (that is, until January 27), 9,353 cases of this disease were registered in the republic. at least 20 regions. This figure is 41% higher than reported in 2023 for the same period, so Minsa has already issued an epidemiological alert to alert medical institutions about the situation.

Does this mean we are heading towards a scenario similar to last year? Not necessarily, but that doesn’t mean we should relax as the climate conditions that 2024 brings us are conducive to the spread of mosquitoes that carry the virus. “When the temperature rises dengue reproduces and develops faster: the phase from egg to larva and transition to the adult phase occurs in three to four days; “Regularly, this process lasts a week,” explains infectious disease doctor Leslie Soto. “An adult mosquito becomes infected through its bite,” he adds.

As we know, above normal temperatures were recorded in January and it is likely that they will be even higher in February, so it is imperative that health authorities take the necessary precautions to prevent the disease from getting out of control. He dengueAs we said earlier, if the disease is detected in time, it is easy to treat, so it is extremely important to persistently remind the public of the importance of going to a medical center in case of developing a serious illness and to exercise extreme caution. with older adults 60 years of age being by far the age group that had the most deaths from this pathology in 2023 (more than 50%). Also, as has been said many times, there is no need to invent a forest fire here, since measures to prevent the spread of mosquitoes that carry the virus have been known for decades and are relatively easy to implement.

The situation is particularly important today as experts warn that people are becoming infected with the virus for the second time. dengue is more likely to develop serious illness. So allowing the virus to run rampant again, as it did last year, could prove even more costly. It is believed that it is to prevent this that last year the Budget Act 2024 approved the allocation of S$107 million to fund prevention programs against dengue. And what the government already knows (or should already know) is that poor management of the virus can cause great political damage, since last year’s outbreak left then-Health Minister Rosa Gutierrez unseated.

So there’s no excuse for dengue brought the country back under control, as it was last year. Given the risks associated with reinfection of the disease, it is critical that authorities take measures to mitigate its spread. Otherwise, in a few months, we might regret not reacting, although there is still time to do so.

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