A dengue fever outbreak in Burkina Faso isn’t yet cause for alarm, health officials say, although it has now affected more than 1,000 people in the nation’s central region.
Minister of Health Smaila Ouédraog said that as of November 13, there were 15 deaths among the 1,061 probable cases reported. Health officials hope they are now seeing a downward trend, local media outlets report.
On Wednesday, the outbreak caused the nation’s UPC opposition party to publicly demand government improvements in health care, sanitation, urban planning and public education that its leaders say have fallen short of containing the outbreak.
In addition to Ouagadougou, suspected cases were reported in other provinces such as Dori, Bobo-Dioulasso and Boromo Kongoussi. However, Ouédraog – while noting that he prefers to avoid a direct comparison – has reminded citizens that malaria is more deadly than dengue in overall fatalities.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne illness that is treatable and typically not fatal with early medical intervention, or in the absence of other underlying health complications.
Ouédraog told Burkina24, however, that spraying efforts have been ineffective because mosquitoes have adapted to the products used in the past. He said the Ministry of Health calls on researchers to develop new control options.
The European Union has said international aid organizations are assisting Burkina Faso in assessing the dengue outbreak and informing the public about precautions and treatment. Meanwhile, Turkey has issued a travel warning to its citizens to use caution in the country and prevent dengue exposure.
Image: World Health Organization