Cape Verde Tackles 13,000 Suspected Cases of Dengue Fever
By Joe DeCapua 11 November 2009
In what's being called the biggest
dengue fever epidemic ever recorded in West Africa, the Red Cross reports some
13,000 suspected cases in Cape Verde.
Aedes aegypti is the species of mosquito that transmits yellow fever and dengue to humans
far, about three thousand cases have been confirmed. The viral disease is spread by
mosquitoes. Symptoms include a high
fever, headache, fatigue and vomiting. Also,
some are suspected of having the separate and potentially deadly dengue
Naucler, West and Central Africa Zone health coordinator for the International
Federation of the Red Cross, is in the capital city of Praia.
situation is still serious I would say.
Today (Wednesday) we have more or less 13,000 cases reported and we have
68 with hemorrhagic fever. And six have
died," he says.
says the hospital in the capital is overcrowded with cases. Tents have been set up outside the hospital
Prime minister not immune
ministerial committee of vector (mosquito) control has been established, led by
the prime minister. Unfortunately, the
prime minister is also sick with dengue at the moment," he says.
to control the mosquito population are in full swing.
have got a lot of assistance from the WHO (World Health Organization) now, even
from the Dutch. They are conducting
spraying both inside and outside houses in different areas here now," he says.
But was it done before the outbreak?
prior to the outbreak this was not done.
No one knew this. In late
September, they found a little bit of increasing number of people with virus
infections. First they thought that it
was H1N1 (flu)," he says.
when the number of those infected started to rise, the illness was diagnosed as
dengue fever type III.
response to the outbreak includes clinical management and mobilization by the
Red Cross and other agencies. The Red
Cross also has its rapid disease surveillance reporting system in place.
have seen during the last days that it has been more stable with cases. But I will not say that the fear is
over…. I believe of course that this
dengue thing will decrease, but when, I don't want to speculate," Naucler says.
Cape Verde outbreak unusual
is the first outbreak of dengue in Cape Verde.
And this huge outbreak also is the first that I know in West
Africa. So, no one thought about dengue
fever and no one in West Africa has seen such a huge epidemic from dengue," he
Cape Verde has a very low prevalence
of malaria, which is another reason` why there was not a widespread vector
control program underway.