Guyana is facing its most important dengue epidemic for around twenty years: it began in mid-2023 and has accelerated since the beginning of January with 800 new cases declared on average per week, according to the‘Regional Health Agency (ARS).
This virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, against which no vaccine is recommended by the High Authority for Health (HAS), can cause hemorrhage or shock syndrome in the most serious cases. In tropical and intertropical areas, such as Guyana, epidemics return every three to five years and generally last 12 to 18 months. Viral waves are more or less intense.
According to Public Health France, 5,800 confirmed cases of dengue fever have been recorded in the Amazonian department of 300,000 inhabitants since the start of 2023, including 2,996 already in 2024. “We are in the phase of active circulation with more of 800 cases declared per week since the start of the year,” confirmed the director of the ARS, Dimitri Grygowski, on February 6.
Two of the four existing dengue genotypes are circulating at the same time, contributing to the intensification of an epidemic also favored by the rainy season, which increases the number of areas of stagnant water and therefore the breeding grounds for larvae. Last week, the impact remained “relatively limited” on the Guyanese health system, with the infection generating “8 to 10% more activity” for the emergencies of the Kourou and Cayenne hospitals.
End-of-life vehicles removed
A monitoring unit associating State services and the Territorial Collectivity of Guyana (CTG) was activated on February 6 with a view to measures “to slow down this dynamic as much as possible”, indicated the prefect Antoine Poussier.
The next day, the state representative signed a decree to accelerate the removal of end-of-life vehicles, which are numerous on the roadsides and “which constitute mosquito breeding grounds facilitating the spread of dengue”.
Epidemics increasingly close together and intense
For its part, the CTG promised to “increase its human and material resources” in the field of mosquito control, for which it has competence. Its president Gabriel Serville speaks of an “epidemic of a scale that we have not experienced for around twenty years”.
According to the work of the Pasteur Institute, dengue epidemics are increasingly frequent and intense, particularly due to demographic pressure.
Climate change also favors its circulation and the disease is “gaining ground, particularly in southern Europe and even since the arrival of tiger mosquito », According to the director of the Institut Pasteur de Cayenne, Christophe Peyrefitte. 36 indigenous cases had been recorded in mainland France between May 1 and the end of October 2023.
Brazil, a neighbor of Guyana, fears an unprecedented epidemic, particularly in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, according to France 24.
Between 2000 and 2019, the number of cases reported globally increased 10-fold.