A Nasty Season of Dengue in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay

Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that transmits dengue In southern Brazil an estimated 45.000 cases of dengue have been announced. Argentina, on the other hand, confirmed 126 cases of the mosquito transmitted dengue disease with another 415 patients with symptoms but yet have to be definitively diagnosed.

According to Argentina's Ministry of Health of the 126 cases only three are "autochthonous" with the rest having been contracted during trips to neighboring countries such as Paraguay, where there's a dengue national emergency, Bolivia and Brazil.

Meantime in Paraguay the health official in charge of tackling the dengue fever outbreak which has claimed at least ten lives has been sacked for having used expired chemicals in the anti mosquito fumigation campaigns.

So far this year 16.297 dengue cases have been officially reported – eight times the total for the whole of 2006. A 60 days national emergency is in place and doctors associations in Paraguay believe the true figure of cases is closer to 150.000.

A severe outbreak has also been reported in the neighboring south-western Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, where the number of cases is estimated over 45.000.

The rise in cases of the dengue fever which is endemic in much of the Americas has been blamed by experts on a higher rainfall and uncommonly warm weather, which have boosted the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

In Argentina most cases are concentrated in the province of Buenos Aires; the capital Buenos Aires City and the provinces of Formosa and Chaco bordering Paraguay.

In Paraguay experts fear the use of expired chemicals, used for the past two years, could have built up more resistance in the mosquitoes which transmit the disease.

Paraguayan Health Minister Oscar Martinez meeting with the press said that the outbreak was "under control" and that the government had boosted efforts to eliminate mosquito breeding spots.

The minister said he would not resign, despite growing pressure from both private and public health workers. Doctors in Paraguay say that at least five of those who died were suffering from a particularly virulent variant of the disease called "gastric dengue", never seen before in the country.

Gastric dengue attacks vital organs – such as the liver, heart, lungs or brain – and can cause death within hours. Other patients died of dengue hemorrhagic fever, a variant usually fatal.

Experts from France, United States, Argentina and the Pan-American Health Organization have been arriving in Paraguay to study the outbreak and disease stains and advise the government

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