Since the beginning of the year El Salvador has registered over 18,000 suspected cases of tropical dengue fever, with 4,800 confirmed, 2,300 hospitalizations and two deaths from the hemorrhagic type that can be fatal.
The increasing number of cases pushed authorities to declare a national emergency, launching campaigns throughout the territory to eradicate the principal mosquito vector of dengue viruses, the Aedes aegypti.
Civil Protection director Jorge Meléndez specified that an range alert was declared – classified as priority by the Health ministry – in five of the nation’s 1 departments, where 50% of the suspected cases resulted positive: the area includes the capital San Salvador and surrounding areas, as also the regions of Santa Ana (west), Chalatenango (north), Cuscatlán and Cabañas (center). A yellow alert (priority 2) was declared in six departments and green (priority 3) in another three.
In the priority 1 zones, Meléndez explained, the local administrations will use emergency funds for immediate action plans. The emergency will remain in force for the rest of August and September, when the situation will be evaluated to determine the necessity of additional measures.
Fumigation operations were announced throughout the nation, while the population was urged to respect the necessary hygienic measures to avoid the proliferation of the mosquito vector of dengue and immediately seek medical care on appearance of symptoms, such as high fever, headache, nausea and skin irritations. In 2000, the dengue fever killed over 25, mainly children, on 3,000 confirmed cases.