Peru health emergency declared after dengue fever rips through country | World | News


In response to a surge in dengue fever cases exacerbated by unusually high temperatures associated with the El Niño weather pattern, Peru declared a health emergency on Monday in the majority of its provinces.

The move comes as the nation grapples with a dengue outbreak that has already surpassed the number of cases reported during the same period last year.

The Ministry of Health revealed that over 31,000 cases of dengue have been recorded in the first seven weeks of 2024, doubling the figures from the corresponding period in 2023.

Health Minister Cesar Vásquez expressed concern about the escalating situation, stating last week: “This is a grave problem, and it is getting out of hand.”

The health emergency declaration will facilitate the rapid allocation of funds to the affected regions and expedite the deployment of medical personnel.

The emergency measures will cover 20 out of Peru’s 24 provinces, including areas surrounding the capital city of Lima.

Last year, a dengue epidemic strained Peru’s public health system as thousands sought emergency care. Dengue is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which thrives in hot and humid conditions.

While most cases present mild symptoms, severe manifestations can include headaches, fevers, and muscle pains.

The current outbreak follows a dengue epidemic in 2023, which claimed 18 lives in Peru. Tragically, in the first two months of this year alone, 32 individuals have succumbed to the virus.

In December, the World Health Organisation attributed Peru’s 2023 dengue epidemic to increased rainfall and elevated temperatures, creating favourable conditions for mosquito breeding. The northern regions of the country were particularly affected.

The government’s declaration of a health emergency underscores the urgency of the situation, with efforts focused on containing the spread of the virus and mitigating its impact on public health.

Authorities are urging citizens to take precautions against mosquito bites and to seek medical attention promptly if symptoms of dengue are observed. The international community is closely monitoring the situation as Peru confronts yet another health crisis linked to climate-related factors.

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