By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Peru health officials have reported a 263% increase in dengue fever cases during the first 30 weeks of 2020 compared to the same period last year. And this is a double whammy for the country as the COVID-19 pandemic nears a half million cases.

Image/Alvaro1984 18

To date, 29,144 total dengue cases have been reported, including 39 deaths. This compares to less than 8000 cases and 14 deaths in 2019 during the first 30 weeks.

“You have to understand the causes that promote the appearance of dengue outbreaks like the one at the end of last year Now that we are in winter, cases are starting to drop a bit, but they have not stopped during the pandemic.It’s just that everyone looks at COVID-19 and nobody looks at dengue. It is important to bear in mind that dengue is transmitted by mosquitoes, they do not appear out of nowhere, they are closely related to climate change, especially deforestation ” , explains Erika Alandia Robles, a researcher of diseases in wildlife and PREDICT coordinator in Bolivia.

As is known, in endemic areas, there can be cases of dengue all the time. The cases are not related to COVID-19, there is no cause and effect, but it is important to take two points into account: clinically the diagnosis can be confused because they are febrile syndromes and there are headaches, muscle pain and dermatological manifestations in both cases ; and the second is that all health facilities are focused on the coronavirus and mosquito-borne diseases may be being put aside, ” agrees Dr. Theresa Ochoa, director of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute of Tropical Medicine at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH).

PAHO calls on Peru and other countries in South America to strengthen “surveillance, diagnosis and treatment actions and at the same time carry out actions for an eventual expansion of primary and specialized care services , mainly in those places where a seasonal increase in the number of cases of dengue and other arboviruses is expected, along with an increase in COVID-19 cases.

The Peru Ministry of Health has reported 489,680 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 21,501 deaths to date, with more than 247,000 cases reported in Lima.

“This is the problem of the so-called ‘double burden’ of two diseases, such as dengue and COVID-19, which can occur at the same time, in the same people and in the same places,” Josefina Coloma told the BBC, Researcher at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley.