Dengue Epidemic CA_AP_Aug 12 2013

By: César Blanco Fajardo, Voz de Guanacaste – According to data from the Ministry of Health (Ministerio de Salud), updated as of September 28th, the Chorotega region continues to be the area with the most dengue cases in the country, wherein Nicoya stands out with 32% of incidences in Guanacaste and the Alajuela county of Upala, also belonging to this region.

Since mid-September, the record for cases in the country, which had been set at 37,798 in 2005, was broken, and to date the count is 40,420.

The counties with high cumulative incidence rates for the year in the Chorotega Region are Nicoya with 32% (3,464 cases), Santa Cruz with 19.5% (2,113 cases), Liberia with 10.2% (1,099 cases) and Upala with 9.8% (1,062 cases).

However, for Nicoya it is not all bad, since the incidence rate has dropped significantly, despite the abysmal number of 3,464 cases this year, far above the 70 cases of the same period in 2012.

“The areas of Nicoya and Upala, which were included and intervened in through the Contingency Plan (Plan de Contingencia), have reported fewer cases in recent weeks, but now Santa Cruz, Carrillo , Cañas and Liberia recorded an increase in recent weeks,” said Dr. María Ethel Trejos, Director of Health Security (Directora de Vigilancia de la Salud).

Santa Cruz in Crisis

In the past five weeks in Santa Cruz, 811 cases were reported, in Liberia there were 524, in Carrillo 382, Cañas had 345 and Nicoya 305. “That is why next week we have planned the mass fumigation and destruction of breeding sites in Santa Cruz, Liberia and Carrillo, to try to reduce this problem,” said Trejos.

Until now, there haven’t been any deaths reported in the province caused by the disease, which is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, but there were 63 severe cases, of which 29 were in Nicoya, 16 in Carrillo, 9 in Liberia, 4 in Santa Cruz, 4 in Cañas and 1 in Upala. Meanwhile, there are three serotypes of mosquito circulating in the area – 1, 2 and 3.

For this year, the Health Ministry budgeted a total of $464,000 (₡232,167,000) on media advertising  alone, for education and prevention of the epidemic, along with support from the Ministry of Public Education (MEP – Ministerio de Educación) and the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS – Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social).

The latter entity had invested $5.6 million (₡2,823 million) through August 1st in the care of dengue patients this year, $4.0 million (₡2,022 million) for hospitalizations, in consultations $1.4 million (₡708 million) and $200,000 (₡101 million) in payments for disabilities, for a total of $11.3 million (₡5,654 million).


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