The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is warning of what it describes as “the complex situation” of dengue in Latin America and the Caribbean.
It says the region is currently experiencing “a new epidemic cycle of the disease” after two years of low incidence.
According to the latest PAHO epidemiological update, during the first seven months of 2019, more than two million people contracted the disease, and 723 died.
PAHO said the number of cases exceeds the total number of cases reported in 2017 and 2018 “although so far, it remains lower than the number recorded in 2015-2016.
“The region is experiencing a new epidemic cycle of dengue, with a notable increase in cases,” said Dr Marcos Espinal, Director of PAHO’s Department of Communicable Diseases and Environmental Determinants of Health.
“The climate, environmental management and the mosquito’s capacity to adapt may have caused the situation to increase in complexity.”
PAHO said another characteristic of the current epidemic is that children under the age of 15 appear to be among the most affected.
According to Dr Espinal, this may be due to the fact that their age means they have been less exposed to the virus in the past and may, therefore, lack immunity.
PAHO said dengue is caused by a virus that has four different, but closely related, serotypes: DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4 – all of which circulate in the Americas.