Coronavirus
GP | Oct 23, 2020

Guadeloupe hit hard by COVID-19 and dengue epidemics

/ Our Today

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A woman waits to get tested for the coronavirus in Guadeloupe. The French island has been hit hard by not one but two epidemics as a dengue fever outbreak joins the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: FranceTvInfo.fr)

The island, controlled by the French government, isn’t any closer to curbing the spread of dengue a year after its resurgence.

French-Caribbean territory Guadeloupe is currently grappling with two epidemics at once: the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and a resurgence of dengue fever.

The situation in Guadeloupe is now at a critical juncture as the local prefecture, which governs the island, reports a growing number of medical consultations across the archipelago—a telling signal that the dengue epidemic is getting worse.

“The weekly number of city medicine consultations is over 1,000 for the second consecutive week. The entire archipelago is affected by this upsurge in dengue fever, which is intensifying. Since the start of the epidemic, nearly 15,140 clinically suggestive cases of dengue have been estimated,” the Préfecture de Guadeloupe indicated.

In an October 16 (Friday) statement, the prefecture further indicated that Guadeloupe is beset by the DENV-2 serotype and, based on its dengue surveillance indicators, the virus—spread by the bite of an infected Aedes Aegypti mosquito—is circulating rapidly among the general population.

Guadeloupe saw its first resurgence of dengue fever cases during the start of week 42 (October 14 to October 20) in 2019, however, exactly a year later and the crisis isn’t under control, as nearly 2,190 reports (a 14 per cent increase) were collected the last two weeks.

Dengue fever is spread by the bite of infected female Aedes Aegypti mosquito. (Photo: Healthline)

The archipelago’s most impacted municipalities are Saint-François, Le Moule, Le Gosier, Petit-Bourg, Vieux-Habitants, and Capesterre-Belle-Water—having had the highest cumulative incidence, greater than 100 cases estimated per 10,000 inhabitants. 

Another 12 municipalities have incidences of between 40 and 100 cases per 10,000 inhabitants, namely: Sainte-Anne, Petit-Canal, Les Abymes, Pointe-à-Pitre, Baie-Mahault, Lamentin, Sainte-Rose, Bouillante, Goyave, Baillif, and the island of Marie-Galante.

Since the start of the surveillance of severe cases and deaths observed in 2019, one death directly linked to dengue fever was recorded in Guadeloupe in September.

Encouragingly, the weekly number of emergency room visits for suspected dengue fever has been steadily decreasing for the last three weeks, but remains at high, ​​with 34 visits in the week of October 5—against 37 in the week of September 28, and 44 in the week of September 21.

La Préfecture de Guadeloupe urged all citizens to assist in the eradication of dengue fever, despite the disease being endemic to the region and warned that mosquitoes have developed resistance to fogging and other methods of vector control.

“Everyone can help fight the virus by killing mosquitoes in their home. Large-scale insecticide spraying, besides being bad for the environment, is not effective. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is now resistant to vector control,” the agency indicated.

Dealing with two health crises at once, the French Government has sent military medical personnel to fill the gap as the coronavirus (COVID-19) and dengue fever slam Guadeloupe. (Photo: Le Figaro)

With respect to the COVID-19 outbreak, Guadeloupe confirmed 383 new cases as of Tuesday, October 20, bringing the island’s tally to 7,329. To date, 115 patients have died from coronavirus-related complications there, with another 2,199 reporting a full recovery.

Guadeloupe currently has some 5,015 active cases, 162 of which have been hospitalised; 24 of those are being treated at intensive care units (ICUs).

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