Technical Working Group activated to ensure adequate prevention, diagnosis and management of Dengue
Dengue is endemic to Guyana and the Region of the Americas. Every few years there is a cyclical increase in dengue cases due to seasonal and climatic conditions among other factors.
The Region of the Americas has recorded a significant increase in dengue cases in the last few months. They have recorded 2,102, 848 cases from January to June 2023, of which 3210 were classified as severe dengue with 876 deaths. The highest number of cases within this region were observed in Brazil, Peru and Bolivia.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has recorded a total of 2169 confirmed cases, with 239 patients hospitalized and 11 dengue related deaths for this year.
Dengue is an acute febrile disease that is caused by the dengue virus which is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito. There are four serotypes of the dengue virus known as DENV 1-4, each of which can cause an infection. Re-infection with a different serotype from that of a previous infection can result in a more severe form of the disease.
Persons with Dengue may experience fever, eye pain (back of the eye), muscle/joint pain, skin rash, and headache and generalized weakness. Persons affected by severe dengue (haemorrhagic dengue) may develop complications that are associated with bleeding and clotting disorders.
To ensure the adequate prevention, diagnosis and management of Dengue, the Ministry has undertaken several actions to ease the burden of the disease in Guyana. The Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony has activated a Technical Working Group responsible for assessing, recommending and implementing actions to mitigate this public health event. As recommended by the Technical Working Group, Several of these measures include, a heightened public awareness campaign to promote environmental sanitation and hygienic practices, and, public awareness on the prevention of Dengue and other mosquito borne diseases. These include several appearances on radio and television stations and frequent messages on the Ministry’s social media platforms.
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 (NCDs). Notably, a second cycle of fogging (fumigation) has commenced in most regions.
The Ministry of Health has increased the procurement and distribution of rapid diagnostic test kits and other laboratory supplies and equipment to ensure adequate diagnostic capacity. Considering this disease does not have a cure, medication and medical supplies have been distributed in adequate quantity to all regions to ensure symptomatic treatment of all patients throughout the health care system in keeping with a revised national treatment guideline.
The Ministry of Health’s Technical Working Group will continue to assess the epidemiological situation and the progress of the implemented measures.
All Guyanese are encouraged to do source reduction otherwise known as the elimination of mosquito breeding sites, especially around homes, schools and their surroundings. Importantly, containers such as bottles, buckets and old tyres should be inspected to ensure that they are covered, punctured or removed from your homes and community. Open water tanks are known breeding sites for mosquitoes. Always secure water tanks by covering them with a net or a cover and ensure that all extra openings are sealed. Remember to clean your tanks and prevent water from laying stagnant for too long.
For those persons residing in and around mining camps where malaria cases are more prevalent, the Ministry of Health advises that you sleep under treated mosquito nets which are being provided free of cost through the Vector Control Services Unit. Personal protection measures include the use of long sleeve clothing and mosquito repellents.
For more information on dengue, malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases, please contact the Vector Control Services of the Ministry of Health on Tel: +(592) 225-8973.