Dengue’s breaking public health records in Venezuela. According to official data from the Ministry of Health, cases of dengue rose by 40% in 2013 compared to 2012. There were over 75,000 cases of dengue in Venezuela in 2013, compared to 46,708 in 2012. One of dengue’s victims was the actor José Romero whose high profile raised awareness of the disease even further.
The government is taking action. In late January, it held its first ever state-organized dengue and malaria prevention meeting at a hospital in Barinas. Government officials outlined their plans for combating dengue. Their success depends on an education program that reaches every part of the country. Official press releases remind citizens not to self-medicate against dengue, and to empty water from containers so that they do not turn into breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
But despite the surge in dengue cases and media awareness, casino the disease certainly isn’t new in Venezuela. A WHO report from 2007 describes a reemergence of dengue in the country even then. The fact that people tend to spend a lot of time outdoors in Venezuela gives mosquitoes extra opportunities to bite.
The WHO report shows that in spite of government promises five years ago for a plan to tackle the disease, dengue is more of a problem in Venezuela than ever before. And while education is vital to keep the spread of dengue to a minimum, awareness alone isn’t enough. It is time for firm action to break dengue in Venezuela