There were no deaths from Dengue in 2020. That's compared to 10 dengue deaths in 2019.
And the welcome decline in the number of deaths owes to the fact that there was an 86% decrease in the number of cases.
But what explains it? Because it's not like mosquitoes stopped biting.
Well, it could very well be due to lockdowns. but according to the Chief of Operations at Vector Control, it can also be credited to a number of other mitigating factors.
He spoke to Cherisse Halsall via zoom today about the decline in Dengue and the cross border activity that was largely to blame.
"We've seen really an amazing reduction of that disease about 86% from 2019 when there were 8,300 cases to 2020 when there were just 1,163 cases, what would you credit with this incredible reduction?"
Kim Bautista, Chief of Operations, Vector Control
"The outbreak of Dengue locally started from fourth-quarter 2018 and ran all the way through 2019. That period saw the highest record number of Dengue cases both locally and throughout the reason, as reported by PAHO, and what we saw around the first quarter last year there was a reduction of cases leading before the lockdowns, and so many things played in our favor with respect to the closure of the borders, the restriction in interdistrict movement, even locally with respect to the curfews that were in place at various times during the year. We still had a presence on the ground with respect to vector control staff conducting larval sighting and also adult spraying, using our spray truck. So, I think that many things played in our favor granted there was a reduction in terms of visitation to health facilities for Dengue testing and not to discredit the interventions that took place but I think many things combined and played in our favor and that's how we ended up from 8,359 cases in 2019 to 1,163 cases last year."
"If you look at the epidemiological situation overtime for certain diseases, Dengue in the years past, Zika, chikungunya, even malaria along with border communities on the Rio Hondo side in Mexico and on our side of the Rio Hondo, we have a string of villages along the border area. We tend to see outbreaks on both sides so of course, there was strict control in terms of movement along the river, both legal and illegal entry points. So, I think that it does contribute to improving the situation but if you look at the figures in years past the situation has always been where the northern districts along with Belize District tend to have the higher number of cases of Dengue, last year those three districts accounted for 78% of the total Dengue cases."
Bautista says that the Ministry isn't optimistic about the situation going forward because eventually the borders will re-open and the movement in those corridors will go back to normal.