Pernambuco registers a 16% increase in probable cases of the disease

Several Brazilian states are again experiencing an increase in the number of cases of dengue fever, which requires special attention to disease prevention and adaptation measures by health authorities. There are municipalities in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul that are already talking about an epidemic, precisely at this end of summer and the beginning of the rains. This scenario emerges at a time when, due to the covid-19 pandemic, the population has reduced care with the arboviruses and changed the perception of diseases transmitted by the Aedes aegyptilike dengue fever.

This is shown by an unprecedented survey carried out by Intelligence in Research and Consulting (Ipec), at the request of the biopharmaceutical Takeda and with the scientific coordination of the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases (SBI). The study evaluated the perception of 2,000 Brazilians on dengue fever and showed that, despite wide dissemination, several basic information about the disease is still not fully known to the population.

In this context, 31% believe that the disease ceased to exist during the pandemic and, although the majority (53%) assess that the risk of dengue contagion remained during the pandemic, 22% believe that the risk has decreases. Of the reasons, 28% said they had not heard of dengue and 22% said that “every disease is now covid-19” and there are no dengue cases.

According to the Ministry of Health, in the first six weeks of this year, 70,555 probable cases of dengue were recorded in Brazil, an increase of 43.5% compared to the same period last year. In 2021, there was a drop in the registration of cases and deaths compared to 2020. There were 544,460 probable cases of dengue fever, while in 2020 the records reached 1 million in the country. Under-reporting due to the pandemic could be one explanation for the decline.

In Pernambuco, the scenario is the same. This year, up to the last 5, there were 2,801 records of people who fell ill with symptoms of dengue fever. Of this total, 2,138 are probable cases of the disease. The increase is 16.6% compared to the same period in 2021. Another indicator that deserves attention is the dengue control diagram, which already shows an epidemic zone in some weeks of this year, with incidences higher than in 2021.

Two towns in Pernambuco (Moreilândia, in Sertão, and Nazaré da Mata, Zona da Mata Norte), according to the epidemiological bulletin of the National Department of Health (SES), are in a situation of high incidence of dengue fever, with more than 300 probable cases per 100,000 population. In addition, nine municipalities (Buenos Aires, Moreilândia, Nazaré da Mata, Paudalho, Petrolina, Recife, São Lourenço da Mata, Serra Talhada and Timbaúba) have already registered serious forms of the disease this year.

The figures only prove that the fact that Brazilians consider dengue fever to have ceased to exist during the pandemic may lead to a relaxation of vector control actions, increasing the risk of infection with the virus. “This reality revealed by the research is worrying. With the urgency of the covid-19 pandemic, many infectious diseases, such as arboviruses (dengue fever), have been pushed into the background and even forgotten. Emphasis is placed on the dissemination of information and awareness campaigns that encourage prevention. “, explains Alberto Chebabo, specialist in infectious diseases, president of SBI.

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