NewsDesk @bactiman63

The National Institute of Health explains the dengue figures in Colombia that correspond to the behavior of an epidemic year,  which occurs every three to four years.  and makes recommendations to avoid this and other diseases, which increase with the arrival of the El Niño phenomenon. The general director, Giovanny Rubiano García, explained some of the measures that Colombians must take into account to reduce the risk of getting sick during the El Niño phenomenon and the special care that must be taken with dengue.

“This climate favors the risk factors for some vector-borne diseases, especially dengue, chikungunya and Zika because the climatic conditions are conducive to the reproduction of the transmitting mosquito. The drought and decreased rainfall forces people to store water in all kinds of containers that, if they are not adequate and are clean or covered, become breeding grounds for mosquitoes”, said the director .


Franklyn Prieto, director of Public Health Surveillance of the INS, specified the  importance that municipalities activate their risk monitoring and carry out the management to review the availability of water and the control of mosquito breeding sites during these climatic changes. “We expect dengue outbreaks to occur every three years and we hoped that the last one would start in 2022. However, that year it stopped and with the arrival of La Niña, ideal conditions for the mosquito began to appear, which we have been seeing reflected in the last months and that they will continue with the beginning of the phenomenon of “El Niño”.

Despite the number of cases reported to date, 55,586, as of epidemiological week 26 (that is, the last of June and the first days of July), it is important to clarify that the last epidemic (2019-2020) of dengue in Colombia ended with a total of 127,553 confirmed cases. Figures similar to that of the 2015-2016 epidemic with 129,000 cases and well below historical figures such as that of the 2010 epidemic that produced 157,203 cases.

Indeed, in Colombia, 30 departments remain above the endemic channel for dengue, that is, 81.1%, according to data reported to SIVIGILA. 16.2% are on alert (6) and only 2.7% (1) of the territorial entities are within expectations. In the accumulated 52,586 notified cases, they are distributed as follows: 29,618 (56.3%) without alarm signs, 22,240 (42.3%) with alarm signs; and 728 (1.4%) are cases of severe dengue.

70.9% of the cases (37,353) at the national level are concentrated in Meta, Tolima, Santander, Cali, Cundinamarca, Sucre, Cesar, Antioquia, Bolívar, Barranquilla, Cartagena, Córdoba and Norte de Santander. The incidence of cases is 148, 4 cases per hundred thousand inhabitants in 2023. While in 2022, the incidence was 86.5 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants.

Of 38 departmental and district entities, Bogotá is the only entity without a population at risk. Amazonas, Vaupés, Meta, Guaviare, Tolima, Caquetá, Putumayo and Cundinamarca have the highest incidences, recording rates of more than 260 reported cases per 100,000 inhabitants. As in other countries of the Americas, from Mexico to Argentina they are in an epidemic year.

The most affected countries in the region are Peru (169,504 cases) and Brazil (1,515,460 cases). Colombia is sixth in the total number of registered cases per 100 thousand inhabitants and in regional incidence we are ninth with 95 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. Above are Bolivia, Argentina, among others. Since the beginning of this epidemic year for dengue, 29 deaths have been registered and the country maintains a lethality of 0.1%, with a greater affectation in minors, mainly on the Caribbean coast.


Regarding laboratory surveillance of the virus, the INS has remained alert to this phenomenon and has been conducting studies that show that dengue types 1 and 2 are circulating mainly in the country. Although historically all types of dengue have circulated in the country Dengue serotypes, these two are the most prevalent and type 2 is the one with the greatest recent circulation.

The Ministry of Health, with the National ETV program, has given detailed recommendations to the territorial entities for the control of vectors -adults and hatcheries- and for the clinical management of patients in the IPS; to reduce lethality, and the INS maintains intensified surveillance of this event and others that may increase as a result of the El Niño climate phenomenon.

Other health  recommendations during the El Niño phenomenon

Under these climatic conditions, communities with difficult access to drinking water use it for priority activities, such as cooking food, and tend to neglect or reduce personal hygiene practices, frequent hand washing, and food washing, which also exposes them to acute diarrheal disease (ADD), especially in areas or municipalities of the country that do not have adequate sewers.

The INS intensifies surveillance of respiratory diseases, since there is an increased risk of acute respiratory infections (ARI) in the general population and in people with allergies (rhinitis) and chronic lung diseases. Sudden temperature changes such as high temperatures or heat strokes also increase the risk for those who suffer from cardiovascular disease such as hypertensives, diabetics and overweight people.

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For this reason, adequate hydration and the use of sun protection is essential. The climatic variety that characterizes the El Niño phenomenon, which consists of increases in temperature and decrease in rainfall in a large part of the national territory, requires that health authorities be alert to certain diseases this season, especially in the Andean, Caribbean and and Orinoquía and part of the Pacific region.

The general director of the INS, Giovanny Rubiano García, recommended that the population maintain these measures:

• Protect stored water and that which we are going to consume.

• Wear a shirt and long pants.

• Use repellent.

• Do not allow water to accumulate in containers such as tanks, channels and tires.

• Collect and properly dispose of garbage.

• Avoid heat stroke with adequate hydration, especially for people with hypertension, diabetes and special health conditions.

• Sudden weather changes favor respiratory infections. If we have symptoms, isolate ourselves, use a mask, wash our hands frequently, and take care of our elders and children under 5 years of age.