Dominican Republic on High Dengue alert: Experts cite Global Warming as Boost in Cases

With the summer rains just starting, epidemiologist Jesus Feris Iglesias warns that extra precautions should be taken to avoid mosquito bites. The mosquitoes could be bearers of dengue, a potentially fatal tropical disease.

DR’s medical authorities say this year there have been 26 deaths and 4,500 cases, with rains which have just started. Last year, for the same period there had only been three deaths and 597 cases. Most cases have been reported in Santo Domingo, Santiago, National District, Espaillat (Moca), Hermanas Mirabal (Salcedo) and Santiago Rodriguez. In 2012 there were 68 deaths and 9,284 cases nationwide.

(FILE IMAGE) The increase follows an international trend. The World Health Organization says that during the past five decades, the incidence of dengue has increased 30-fold.

(FILE IMAGE) The increase follows an international trend. The World Health Organization says that during the past five decades, the incidence of dengue has increased 30-fold.

An epidemiology report from Santo Domingo’s Ministry of Public Health says attention needs to be given to eliminate breeding areas for mosquitoes. Aedes mosquitoes usually bite during the day; therefore, special precautions should be taken during early morning hours before daybreak and in the late afternoon before dark.

Dengue virus is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites, a specific species of mosquito, usually Aedes aegypti (but frequently Aedes albopictus) that bites during morning hours. The mosquito transmits disease by biting an infected person and then biting someone else. It usually breeds in clean stagnant water. Other preventive measures include: using mosquito repellents, covering all water containers with lids, using screens on windows and doors, wearing protective clothing when outdoors, using mosquito nets at home, scrubbing and cleaning the rims of containers used for water (to dislodge the Aedes aegypti eggs), and covering overhead tanks to prevent access to mosquitoes.

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