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Yemen – Dengue outbreak in Taiz

Since 1994, a strange and quiet mosquito has bred in Taiz. This kind of mosquito transmits dengue fever [virus] among people so that the  pandemic increased in the city as the mosquito became established.

Despite differences over the number of infections with the disease and fatal cases, all agree that the disease has become established in Taiz and plagued the city amid ignorance of concerned bodies despite of the fact that its danger is  increasing. “If concerned bodies would have intervened early, the matter would have been easier. We ignore the disease, its reasons, and the environment in which it reproduces.

We do not even know the protection against the disease because we didn’t know it was dengue fever [until] only lately,” said a Taizi citizen. Physician Samir Sufian, director of Al-Rawdha Hospital, reveals the size of the catastrophe affirming that public and private hospitals receive cases of dengue fever. “Like any other public and private hospital, we perform our duty and receive many cases, whether infected with dengue fever [virus] or other cases suffering the same
complications of the disease,” he said. “We have been receiving more  than 100 cases a day, all of them are not necessarily infected with the disease [virus] but there are similar cases.

Only 72 cases have been hospitalized and [we] gave them blood platelets as the disease reduces the blood platelets to under 60 000 units. All these cases have recovered,” he said.

Concerning fatalities, the director of Al-Rawdha Hospital indicates that fatal cases have been occurring with the spread of the disease but indicates “death could happen if there are accompanying diseases.” He estimated the number of mortalities has reached only 7 and there are similar fatal cases in other hospitals. ” All of us are responsible for society with all [its health] categories, the health office is not solely responsible for deterring the disease and it is not our responsibility to exaggerate the number of infections and fatal cases,” said Sufian.

However, the technical director of Al-Safwa Hospital, Abdurrahman Saeed, affirms that the hospital has received hundreds cases during the past 2 months, but he indicates that [dengue] infections with disease have become rare during the past month. He expected that fatal cases in Taiz are estimated in tens. “In our hospital, for example, 3 fatal cases have been registered.”

The secretary general of health, Abdul-Jalil Azuraiqi, says, “The disease was not new, if concerned bodies had intervened early in 1994, the situation would have been better. The disease is now terribly rampant and there are not enough efforts for combating it.”

Deputy minister of Public Health and Population for Health and Planning Development, Jamal Nasher, says the ministry is working through its office in Taiz to limit the pandemic by curing [treating] all cases and helping the office to find diagnostic means to recognize dengue fever.

According to him, the strategy aims at eradicating the environment where the mosquito spreads the dengue fever  via eliminating the factors [that] led to the mosquito establishment in the city.  These factors are dominated by personal behavior, like storing water for a long time due to the lack of water in the city, and waste from workshops, houses, and cars.

Based on these factors, the strategy is divided into 2 parts; the 1st one concerns solving the water crisis while the 2nd is to clean the city of all trash to get rid of  [breeding sites] of the mosquito which spreads the disease [virus] in
addition to awareness campaigns on the dangers of the disease and [for individuals,] how to protect themselves against it.

Director of Taiz Health Office, Abdul-Naser al-Kabab, says the disease was established in the city and the water crisis is the main reason. He said the 1st appearance of the disease in Taiz city was in 1994 with one confirmed case and another case found in Jeddah,  Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at that time. The disease appeared again in  2007 when 220 cases of the infection had been registered. While the  disease spread in 2008, with 360 confirmed cases, the pandemic became
rampant in 2009 to the degree that Taizi people have become terrified. The number of infected cases has reached 906.

[Although there are wide differences in the numbers of reported dengue cases and fatalities cited in the report above, it is clear that a major dengue outbreak has been occurring in Taiz. Descriptions of a number of anecdotal dengue cases, including fatalities, mentioned in this report were not included.

An interactive map showing the location of Taiz in southwestern Yemen can be accessed at
<http://www.travelpost.com/ME/Yemen/Other/Taiz/map/2695532>.
A map of Yemen showing the administrative units (governorates) can be accessed at
<http://lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/yemen_admin_2002.jpg>.
A HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of Yemen can be accessed at
<http://healthmap.org/r/013d>. – Mod.TY]

Soure: http://www.promedmail.org/, Jan 19. 2010.

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