March 30th, 2011
Econintersect: Dengue fever is raging in Paraguay according to Ivan Allende of the Health Ministry, with more than 20,000 thought to be infected. There are currently 13,000 patients being treated in public hospitals, which has forced the cancelation of all elective and non-critical surgeries. There have been 18 deaths so far this year, which makes this worse than the entire year 2007 when 17 people died and 2010 when 15 people died. Follow up:
Follow up:The public health system in Paraguay wants to hire 2,000 new doctors and nurses to handle the high patient load, according to an announcement today (Wednesday, March 30) by Deputy Health Minister Edgar Giminez.
Dengue fever, a mosquito born disease also known as bonebreak fever, has symptoms of excruciating pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhia. Surviving the initial infection can produce immunity to that strain of the disease but increases the probabilty that subsequent infection by another strain can produce the sometimes fatal hemorrrhagic dengue, depicted in the photo accompanying this article.
In January and February this year Brazil, which borders Paraguay, reported 155,613 cases of dengue fever with 51 deaths. The infection rate in Brazil has declined by 37% in March. To the south of Paragua Argentina has reported only one case so far this year.
Dengue fever is traditionally associated with Asia and Africa but has had repeated outbreaks in South America. There is no vaccine for any of the dengue fever strains.