Feb 9, 2014

All of Panama Declared a Dengue Epidemic Zone

The following was cut and pasted from an announcement that went out to US Expats in Boquete News...In general, Dengue Fever is more prevalent in urban environments, but it doesn't hurt to be informed and take all necessary precautions.  Especially given the entire country is now included in the declaration.  

February 8, 2014

By: David Arias
It’s official, all of Panama has been declared a dengue epidemic zone. On February 5, 2014, the Panamanian Ministry of Health made the following declaration, “the Ministry of Health considers it urgent and imperative to declare the country as an Epidemic area”. This after the prevelance of dengue in the country, which has killed 13 people over the past 2 months.  According to the Ministry of Health there were 1,703 dengue cases in Panama, as of Monday February 3, 2014, 6 of which resulted in deaths.

The Ministry of Health has ordered the population, including public institutions and private companies of the country, to “implement strict compliance of the Contingency Plan against dengue”, which requires the general population, to “immediately remove all mosquito breeding sites which exist, or may exist in the interior of their homes/properties or establishments, and their land.”

In addition, to counter the recent backlog in garbage collection in Panama, the Ministry has ordered the Autoridad de Aseo, the government institution responsible for waste management in the country, other companies in charge of collecting waste, and all municipalities, “to take all additional measures necessary to eliminate any accumulation of trash, and maintain the areas in communities and commercial sectors free of such waste.” According to the Ministry of Health, waste sites provide ideal conditions for mosquito breeding.

The Ministry has also ordered all news media, and social media outlets in the country to “join in the fight against dengue” by communicating “all preventive measures to minimize the risk of transmission”, at no cost to the state.
The decree was put into force on February 5, 2014.

Per medicine net, the following information is provided:

Dengue infection is a leading cause of death and sickness in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. Dengue is caused by one of four viruses that are transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a more serious form of dengue infection.
Primary symptoms of dengue appear three to 15 days after the mosquito bite and include high fever and severe headache, with severe pain behind the eyes that is apparent when trying to move the eyes. Other associated symptoms are joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rash, and mild bleeding. Many affected people complain of low back pain. The lymph nodes of the neck and groin may be swollen. Young children and people infected for the first time typically have milder symptoms than older children and adults.
Dengue hemorrhagic fever starts with the typical signs and symptoms of dengue as described above. The fever lasts from two to seven days. After the fever begins to abate, symptoms occur that are related to increased permeability of the capillary blood vessels. These symptoms can include severe abdominal pain, prolongedvomiting, and breathing problems. Bleeding tendencies, including easy bruising,nosebleedsbleeding gums, skin hemorrhages, and even internal bleeding may occur. The disease may progress to failure of the circulatory system, leading to shock and death.