In Honduras, hospitals are overflowing due to a dengue fever epidemic that health authorities have said is the worst in the past 50 years.
To date, 28,000 people have been affected by the disease and 54 ─ mostly children ─ have died. The viral infection is spread by mosquitoes and, although in most cases it is mild and passes in around a week without causing any lifelong problems, in rare cases it can be life threatening.
News sources have reported worrying figures; for example, that 26 of Honduras’ 32 public hospitals are overflowing with patients and, at the Roberto Suazo Cordova Hospital in La Paz, around 48 people with the disease were admitted in one day.
A national campaign has begun to fumigate mosquito breeding grounds across the country. Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said that the only effective measure to halt the epidemic ‘is to destroy the mosquito’s breeding grounds, and this is something that every one of us has to do in our homes, where we work and also in every public area’.
Other measures are being taken such as the Ministry of Health opening 15 dengue treatment centres across the country in an effort to relieve the burden on hospitals. The MOH stated that at least 50 per cent of patients come from Honduras’ rural areas, which has overburdened available treatment centres at primary care facilities. Additional health professionals have been hired by authorities to meet the demands of the growing caseload in the country, amid fears that, if left unchecked, the outbreak could spread to areas frequented by international tourists.