A Type of Dengue That Disappeared Four Decades Ago Returns to Cienfuegos

Soldiers work in the fumigation campaign against the Aedes aegypti mosquito. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 30 November 2018 — The circulation in Cienfuegos of a “serotype of dengue” from which no outbreaks had been reported since 1977 has forced extreme emergency epidemiological measures in the province, according to the local newspaper 5th of September. Authorities have warned that this variety, specifically Type I, “may cause the death” of the patient.

“A new wave of the dengue epidemic has emerged with signs of alarm and clinical repercussion and, fortunately, no deaths have been lamented to date,” explained provincial health director Salvador Tamayo Muñiz at a meeting of the highest authorities of the territory called to analyze the situation.

In addition, he added that given this scenario the transmission needs to be stopped in no more than fifteen days. “To achieve this goal, it is necessary to isolate the cases in the authorized centers and eliminate the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the transmitting agent of dengue,” he said.

The local newspaper asks the Cienfuegans to understand the seriousness of the matter and go to the health services if they experience any symptoms such as fever, vomiting, headaches and abdominal pain, bleeding, or any other warning signal, in order to receive a diagnosis and timely treatment.

Lydia Esther Brunet Nodarse, a member of the Central Committee and first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) in the province, emphasized the importance of monitoring from home. “You must act with great urgency,” she said.

For her part, Mayrelis Pernía Cordero, president of the Provincial Assembly of People’s Power, warned of the need for families to be informed of when their homes or outdoor areas will be fumigated.

Dengue is an infectious disease caused by a virus of which four serotypes (1, 2, 3, 4) are recognized, and which is transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Aedes Aegypti. According to researcher Jorge Arias, in Cuba “the four serotypes responsible for the disease,” have been found.

The last cases of serotype 1, before the current outbreak, were detected in 1977 in Santiago de Cuba and the number of infested on the Island totalled 553,138. These patients were part of an epidemic that affected several countries of the Caribbean Central America and the part of South America belonging to the Caribbean Sea Basin.

The other major epidemic in Cuba occurred in 1981, with 344,203 cases of dengue, of which 10,312 were dengue hemorrhagic fever (the most dangerous variant), which caused 158 deaths.

In recent weeks and after a rainy season with very abundant rainfall, the authorities have redoubled inspections to detect foci and carried out fumigations in several areas of the country, especially the most populated cities.

In Havana, the inspection forces affiliated with the Ministry of Public Health and the fumigation brigades have increased their presence. In municipalities such as Centro Habana, Cerro and San Miguel del Padrón, inspections of homes are accompanied by doctors and nurses to confirm that they are carried out.

Over the summer, several provinces in the center of the country reported the presence of hemorrhagic dengue. In 2017, according to figures from the Ministry of Public Health, cases of this disease on the island were reduced by 68% compared to the previous year.

This last year, dengue was present in two municipalities and 11 health areas in the provinces of Holguín and Ciego de Ávila, while other diseases transmitted by Aedes aegypti, such as Zika, were identified in 38 health areas of Havana, Mayabeque, Villa Clara, Sancti Spíritus, Ciego de Ávila, Camagüey, Las Tunas and Holguín.

According to the World Health Organization, all dengue serotypes have affected the Americas. In several Latin American countries the different types circulate simultaneously, creating a serious risk of epidemics.


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