Peru declares health emergency as dengue outbreak 'imminent'

Peru declares health emergency as dengue outbreak ‘imminent’

/ 09:45 AM February 27, 2024

A health worker sprays fumigation vapour to stem the spread of dengue virus, in Lima

A health worker sprays fumigation vapour to stem the spread of dengue virus at the Nueva Esperanza cemetery in Lima, Peru, June 1, 2022. REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda/File Photo

LIMA — Peru declared a health emergency across most of the country on Monday as a heat wave and heavy rains have led to a spike in dengue fever cases.

The South American nation’s death toll due to the virus has risen to 32 so far this year, Health Minister Cesar Vasquez said on Monday.


Total cases also climbed to 31,300 in the first eight weeks of the year, Vasquez said, up from 24,981 in the first seven weeks.


The Peruvian government’s cabinet approved the motion to declare a health emergency on Monday, Vasquez told journalists, hours after he said a dengue outbreak was “imminent.”

“There are 20 regions (out of 25) that will be declared in a health emergency due to dengue,” Vasquez said in an earlier interview on local radio station RPP.

The declaration boosts resources to health responders in the affected areas.

Dengue, largely transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitoes, causes symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and body aches.

Most of the cases seen so far in Peru have been in the country’s north, where hospitals are already overwhelmed.

The nation’s typical dengue response has been “overtaken” by factors such as climate, Vasquez said.


“The weather has created a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes to reproduce more quickly and become a more frequent vector of the disease,” he said.

Last year, 428 people in Peru died from dengue, with 269,216 infected, according to official data.

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Since 2023, the Andean nation has faced high temperatures and heavy rains due to the El Nino weather phenomenon, which has warmed the seas off Peru’s coastline.

TAGS: dengue, Peru

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