(INEWS)The Ministry of Health (MOH) will soon begin dengue serotyping to determine the variants circulating locally, as cases of the infection increase.
This was announced by Health Advisor Dr. Leslie Ramsammy on Monday.
“I am encouraged by the fact that by Friday of this week…we will be able to begin serotyping the dengue cases in Guyana.”
He noted that in all ten regions across the country, rapid testing for dengue is now available. This, he said, will improve the authorities’ intelligence on the disease.
“Dengue is not something new. It has been with us for a long time. Yet, we in this region have not built a comprehensive capacity to have intelligence and to detect and respond.”
Dengue is a viral infection that spreads from mosquitoes to people. Most people who get dengue will not have symptoms, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). But for those who do, the most common symptoms are high fever, headache, body aches, nausea and rash. Sometimes, symptoms are mild and can be mistaken for those of the flu or another viral infection. The symptoms may progress to even death.
There are four serotypes of dengue viruses, designated as DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4.
According to recent statistics, the Health Ministry recorded a total of 317 cases of dengue fever in Guyana last week, as many countries in South America have recorded a substantial increase in cases.
Based on local records, the country records an average of about 80 cases weekly, with a majority of those cases being recorded in Regions Two, Three, Four, and Five.
The WHO has warned that cases of dengue fever could reach record heights this year, partly due to global warming which is providing more conducive conditions for dengue-spreading mosquitoes, the Aedes species.
In light of these concerns, Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony has since advised people to avoid stagnant water and destroy breeding places for mosquitos. He assured citizens that the relevant authorities have the capacity to deal with any hospitalised patients.
He added that daily surveillance has been increased and some 15,000 test kits were delivered across all the regions, and new guidelines on treatment and presentation have been updated.