Dengue fever cases surge and experts warn that El Niño rains will push numbers higher

Feb 21, 2024 | 0 comments

Ecuador health authorities are on alert following four recent deaths from dengue fever. According to the Public Health Ministry, 5,337 dengue cases have been reported so far in 2024, a 10-fold increase from the same period of 2023.

A sanitation worker fumigates a home in Guayaquil as the number of dengue fever infections surge.

The largest number of infections are concentrated in Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas Province, with 994, followed by Manabí, with 838, Los Ríos, with 644 and Guayas, with 365.

In the lower elevations of the sierra, Cañar Province reported 252 cases, Pichincha reported 137, and Cotopaxi reported 66.

Experts warn that dengue fever, which is carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, can be fatal without proper medical treatment. They say that infections occur primarily in the coastal and littoral regions but are possible at elevations up to 6,000 feet.

They also said that epidemiological surveillance and fumigation are essential in preventing the spread of infection.

The Health Ministry is concerned that recent rains and the pools of standing water they create are making control difficult. “It is essential that residents of low-lying areas take precautions, such as applying insect repellent and maintaining clean living conditions,” the ministry said in statement. “The current El Niño weather conditions are making the situation worse, and they are expected to continue until early April.”

In 2023, 2,958 cases of dengue were reported in Ecuador, with most cases reported in Guayas, El Oro and Manabí Provinces.

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