At least seven people in Argentina have died from dengue this year. With 9,388 cases, this is the second biggest outbreak since the disease reemerged in 1998. The biggest recorded outbreak was in 2020.
Sources in the Health Ministry expect the cases to keep surging.
“The curve is rising. We are going through a dengue outbreak, as we foresaw in the previous months”, said Health Ministry sources. The government is currently releasing weekly epidemiological reports.
Dengue is a viral disease transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that have fed on infected blood. The most common symptom is a fever which can be compounded by pain behind the eyes, headache, muscle and joint pain, spots on the skin, itching, and nose and gum bleeding. In its more severe forms, it has a 2.5% mortality rate, according to the World Health Organization.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito also carries other diseases, such as yellow fever, chikungunya and zika. During 2023, the Health Ministry reported 528 chikungunya cases in the country, but only 166 were infected in Argentina.
Argentina’s central region has the most dengue cases, with Santa Fe province leading the list with 2,979 cases. Buenos Aires City and Buenos Aires province follow suit, with 727 and 564 cases respectively.
The second most affected area is the North-West, where Tucumán registered 2,010 instances of the disease, and Salta had 1,372 cases.
In 90.6% of all the registered cases, the people affected by dengue did not report having traveled abroad.
“The mosquito is absolutely native,” Dr. Hugo Pizzi, infectologist and member of the Córdoba National University’s Centre of Tropical Diseases, told the Herald.
The Health Ministry recommended seeing a doctor and avoiding self-medication if any of the symptoms appear. The government also recommends emptying every container that holds water, installing insect screens, and using mosquito repellents.
However, Pizzi says this is not enough.
“Global warming has ‘tropicalized’ and changed the continental and marine climate,” Pizzi told the Herald, referring to the increased temperatures in the country due to the climate crisis.
Given that, Pizzi said that cases are only going to go up and called for the government to urgently conduct a male mosquito sterilization campaign.