The Epidemiological Crisis of Oropouche Fever Worsens in Santiago de Cuba

The Ministry of Public Health has been cautious in offering the number of confirmed cases throughout the country

The accumulation of garbage and stagnant water is the environment conducive to mosquito infestation / Periodismo de Barrio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 9 June 2024 — Numerous complaints on social networks from Santiago de Cuba address the havoc caused by the Oropouche fever epidemic that the region is suffering. The reports speak of undiagnosed cases, outbreaks of mosquitoes in garbage dumps and stagnant water, and even the alleged death of a 22-year-old.

As a silent enemy, the virus is spreading not only through Santiago de Cuba, but also through Cienfuegos and more recently in Mayabeque and Havana, where cases have been reported in the municipalities of Diez de Octubre and Centro Habana, an expansion that the health authorities have not fully reported.

The presence of the fever in the Cuban capital, which was revealed by 14ymedio this Thursday, has not been confirmed by the Ministry of Public Health, which has also been cautious in offering the number of confirmed cases throughout the country, a complex record since most patients do not even go to hospital centers.

The situation seems to have reached such a level of severity that, last Thursday, the newspaper Sierra Maestra published a call to participate in “cleaning and sanitizing days” in Santiago territory. The justification for this mobilization is “the current epidemiological situation, due to the increase in the rates of mosquito infestation,” says the appeal signed by the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution.

The newspaper maintained that the work of cleaning that the organization has called for “will allow us to take care of the health of all the inhabitants”

It also stressed that the days for cleaning extend “to all urban and rural communities, and work in all sectors is needed in order to achieve success.”

Meanwhile, social networks are a hotbed of commentary. This Saturday, independent journalist Yosmany Mayeta, a resident of the United States, reported on his Facebook profile the alleged death of a young man who spent three days hospitalized in a Santiago hospital because of Oropouche fever.

The information given by the reporter has not been confirmed by the authorities, but it has still caused a stir in the community of Santiago, where the residents of the region perceive an increase in infestation of the Culex mosquito, the main vector of Oropouche fever.

Only at the end of May did the Ministry of Public Health admit the presence on the Island of the viral disease, after numerous reports on social networks that warned of its incidence. The most severe symptoms of this fever include vomiting, headaches and joint pain, and in some cases, it can lead to death.

Several independent media have documented the growing concern in Santiago de Cuba about the cases of Oropouche and dengue. One of them is Cuba Alerts, which in a post this Friday on its Facebook page relates what was said by some parents in the area, who report that their children suffer from symptoms of the virus.

“It’s hard in the hospitals: the wards are full of patients, without medicine for the control of disease,” Magalis Cala told Cuba Alerts. She is one of the mothers debating whether or not to admit their children with symptoms of Oropouche fever to the North Children’s Hospital of the city, where she went after the symptoms worsened.

Meanwhile, Martí Noticias was able to talk to Father Leandro León Nun, parish priest of the San José Obrero Church, in Santiago de Cuba, who warns that the spread of the virus increasingly worries the population. They have decided to face it with natural remedies due to the lack of medicines, according to his testimony.

“Currently, with the people I can see, who are in my parish and who have been affected by the virus in the San Juan area, for example, or in the Seville area, people are now suffering from it. Generally, it is affecting a number of people, and just when you think that they have freed themselves from the virus, it returns, and they get weaker. Now my mom is in for the third time, it’s very bad,” complains Father Nun.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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