Cubans urged to join dengue fight

Updated: 2012-08-17 15:27


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Cubans were called upon to support the government's efforts to fight dengue, especially in summer months that usually see a spike in the disease, official daily Granma said Thursday.

"This is a task that requires the effort of all the people," Juan Ramon Vazquez, head of the anti-dengue division of the Public Health Ministry, was quoted as saying.

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Vazquez asked Cubans to allow sanitarians to fumigate homes, factories and other sites, and cautioned Cubans are not fully aware of the risk of contracting dengue, which will increase the danger of spreading it.

Summer heat, rain and humidity create the ideal conditions for the propagation of mosquitoes that carry dengue or yellow fever, he said, adding the ministry had already detected such mosquitoes in 23 provinces. Capital Havana is the most concentrated area.

Cuba has been fighting dengue for more than a decade, but achieved little success in keeping mosquito population in check during the rainy summer months from June to August.

The island nation suffered its worst dengue outbreak in 1981, when the disease affected 10,000 people, killing 158, mostly minors.

The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) warned recently of an increase in dengue outbreaks in Central America and the Caribbean in the second half of 2012.

It said that Latin America and the Caribbean reported in 2011 more than 1 million cases of dengue, and 719 deaths from the disease.