Efforts Underway to Curb Spread of Oropouche and Dengue Virus in Cienfuegos

Monday, June 10, 2024 by Michael Hernandez

The residents of Cienfuegos are on high alert due to the surge in Oropouche and dengue virus cases across the province’s eight municipalities, with Abreus reporting the highest number of infections.

Since mid-May, the swift spread of both epidemics has prompted health authorities in the province to take action. Cienfuegos is the second province in Cuba to detect the Oropouche virus, which originates from the Caribbean but was virtually unknown in the country until recently.

In Abreus, one of the initial municipalities to report Oropouche in Cienfuegos, cases peaked at an average of 50 per day but have since decreased to 10, according to a report by the local channel Perlavisión. Despite implementing a stringent protocol to halt the transmission of these arboviruses, health officials admit they have yet to control both epidemics.

The protocol includes “blocking” homes with residents showing “unspecified febrile syndromes” and a 20-meter perimeter around these houses, along with fumigation to eliminate the mosquito vectors. However, even in areas where Oropouche transmission has been halted, conditions conducive to the spread of the more lethal dengue virus persist, specialists warn.

A local woman shared her ordeal, describing a week of high fever, vomiting, joint and head pain, and swelling, symptoms mirroring those of her neighbors who seemed to contract Oropouche at different times.

An interviewed official confirmed that cases of both Oropouche virus and dengue variant 3 have been isolated in the area. He assured that resources are available to eradicate the mosquito vectors, Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus.

The epidemiological crisis in the Cienfuegos municipality is exacerbated by uncovered water tanks, weed-filled yards, ditches, and water deposits where vectors can thrive. Additionally, unsanitary conditions and irregular water supply cycles, prolonged up to 10 days due to power outages, contribute to the worsening situation.

A report from the local newspaper 5 de Septiembre highlighted the increasing presence of leaks, sewage, garbage dumps, and lack of cleanliness in the capital city of Cienfuegos. Once known as one of the cleanest cities in the country, these factors now threaten to accelerate the spread of Oropouche, much like dengue.

In late May, the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) confirmed the presence of the Oropouche virus in Cuba, two weeks after the first cases of “unspecified febrile syndromes” were reported in the municipalities of Songo-La Maya and Santiago de Cuba. By that time, Oropouche had already spread to the municipalities of Abreus, Rodas, and Cienfuegos’ capital. A week later, it was detected in San Nicolás, Mayabeque.

Although Cuban health authorities have downplayed the severity of the disease, the death of 22-year-old Richard Daniel Nieves Chaveco from Santiago, who was hospitalized with Oropouche symptoms, was reported this Saturday. The government has not confirmed any fatalities due to the illness nor provided the number of diagnosed cases.

Oropouche fever is caused by the virus of the same name, transmitted by the midge Culicoides paraensis—not detected in Cuba but present in the Americas—and the mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus, which is common on the island and thrives in all types of water, including sewage and contaminated sources. This widespread presence poses a significant risk given the country's poor sanitary conditions.

Understanding the Oropouche and Dengue Virus Crisis in Cienfuegos

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers to provide a deeper understanding of the Oropouche and dengue virus situation in Cienfuegos.

What measures are being taken to control the Oropouche and dengue virus outbreaks in Cienfuegos?

Health authorities have implemented a stringent protocol, including home "blocking" and fumigation, to stop the transmission of these viruses.

Why are the conditions in Cienfuegos conducive to the spread of these viruses?

Uncovered water tanks, weed-filled yards, ditches, and water deposits, along with unsanitary conditions and irregular water supply cycles, create an environment where mosquito vectors can thrive.

What are the main mosquito vectors spreading the Oropouche and dengue viruses in Cuba?

The primary vectors are Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes.

Has the government reported any fatalities due to the Oropouche virus?

Although the government has not confirmed any deaths, the recent death of a young man from Santiago with Oropouche symptoms has been reported.

© CubaHeadlines 2024

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