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“Dengue numbers declining, not time to relax,” says Ministry of Health

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Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2019. 1:29 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: The latest epidemiological report on the current dengue outbreak, produced by the Ministry of Health (MOH), shows a steady decline in the number of cases; however, the MOH said that the decrease is no cause for control efforts to be relaxed.

Our newsroom spoke with Lorna Perez, monitoring officer with the MOH this morning, to learn that the number of dengue cases both clinical (diagnosed by a physician due to symptoms without lab tests) and laboratory-confirmed has been declining for the past three weeks. The total number of reported cases of dengue (clinical + Laboratory confirmed) for Epidemiological (EPI) Week 45, which ended on November 9 was 330, with 120 of them being laboratory-confirmed. For EPI Week 46, which ended on November 16, the number of cases was 306 with 87 laboratory-confirmed cases, and EPI Week 47, which ended on November 23, had 240, with 26 laboratory-confirmed cases.

“People might think, ‘oh the numbers are down’ so they let down their guard. We can’t really let down our guard because it is still circulating, we are still having cases.” Perez said. “We encourage people to still go to the clinics and get checked if they are coming down with dengue-like symptoms, so we can have accurate data.”

She stressed that the MOH relies on people going into health facilities and being diagnosed to accumulate the data, which can mean that the numbers are even higher but people are not reporting, choosing to manage the condition on their own. Dengue was most prevalent in children ages 1-4 years as well as children ages 10-14 years, with each of these groups representing some 13.8 percent of the total number of cases respectively. Adults ages 25-29 years had the third-highest prevalence of dengue (10.8 percent).

By district, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, and Cayo are the locations that have the highest prevalence rates per 10,000 populous. The MOH is encouraging all Belizeans to do their part in ensuring that mosquito breeding sites in their area are eliminated to keep reducing the spread of dengue.

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