LA PAZ – The Bolivian province of Beni, bordering Brazil, is on a health alert in the face of a recent doubling in dengue fever cases to more than 1,000, at least four of them fatal.
The provincial health director, Mauricio Rousseau, told Efe that in 2010 authorities registered 1,093 cases of dengue in Beni, of which more than half were detected in December, and during the first couple of weeks of this month there have been another 17 people who have been infected.
By the end of last year, four people had died from the disease and this week another three deaths were reported, although the cause of death has yet to be clinically confirmed. Nevertheless “everything indicates that it was from dengue,” Rousseau added.
The majority of the cases have arisen in the city of Trinidad, Beni’s capital, where authorities calculate that out of every 100 homes 56 are infested with larvae of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries and transmits the disease.
Beni authorities are waiting for Bolivia’s national government to expedite the purchase of equipment and other material with which to fight the disease.
Meanwhile, the provincial health service is conducting clean-up and public education campaigns in Trinidad, as well as in other towns bordering on Brazil, to eliminate the infestations of mosquito larvae.
In December, another two people died of dengue fever in the town of Caranavi, in the northern part of La Paz province, where health authorities are also trying to prevent the spread of the disease.
In early 2009, Bolivia suffered the worst dengue epidemic in the last 20 years with more than 50,000 cases, 22 of which proved fatal, most of them in the eastern province of Santa Cruz.
In addition to the situation in Beni, authorities confirmed that as of the first week of January there had been 48 cases tallied in Cochabamba, 79 in La Paz, 10 in Pando, 40 in Santa Cruz and one in Chuquisaca. EFE