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Dengue deaths up in Guyana

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

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Guyana has recorded a steady increase in dengue infections since 2007, says Health Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy.
Speaking at the first sub-regional workshop aimed at preparing a draft Integrated Management strategy for dengue prevention and control for Guyana, Ramsammy said every citizen should be educated on the vector borne disease and how they can help in the prevention phase.
“I believe when we recorded the numbers in 2007 the incidence rate for Guyana was some 46 per 100,000 and the incidence rate at the end of 2010 was about 196 per 100 000 so there has been a rise… Guyana has improved its testing capacity; therefore we have more confirmed cases today than we have had in the past.”
But despite the increased testing capacity Ramsammy lamented that there were still health professionals who could not diagnose and treat the disease.
“It goes without saying that whilst every physician, every community health worker, every nurse is familiar with the vector borne disease called dengue, not all of them are adept at diagnosis, not all of them are competent in even recognition so that we have to ensure that our health care providers can screen competently so that people suspected of having dengue can be managed and a proper diagnosis be made,” he said.
Dengue is a mosquito borne infection that in recent decades has become a major international public health concern. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there may be 50 million dengue infections worldwide every year. (CMC)