The Deputy Minister of Public Health, José Ángel Portal, described the epidemiological situation in the city of Holguin as a health emergency, according to a local television report. The statement was confirmed this Friday during a meeting to assess the epidemiological measures in the provincial capital to halt the spread of dengue fever in the area.
Deputy Minister Portal said that although the epidemiological situation of the country is one of the most favorable in recent years, Holguin is facing “a public health emergency in which there can be no room for carelessness or mistakes.” He emphasized that “people’s lives are at stake,” although he also said that currently, “it is more a perception of risk and we’re heading down the right path.”
For his part, the first secretary of the Communist Party in Holguin, Luis Antonio Torres Iríbar, criticized the directors of the state agencies for allowing there to be foci of the Aedes aegypti mosquitos in their workplaces. The official criticized that situations like this go on despite the great offensive that takes place in all social and business sectors.
The provincial Government vice president, Marcia Aguero, called for more action by the state health inspectors with regards to fining offenders – people with mosquitoes breeding sites on their property. In this regard she noted that the number of penalties applied is minuscule relative to the violations committed.
Public health directors emphasized that the high prevalence of foci persists, including uncovered water tanks and closed houses that haven’t been inspected. They also reported an increase in cases of cholera in the area.
Also present at the meeting was Ines Maria Chapman, a member of the Council of State, who called attention to the water rationing because of the drought which is expected to get worse in the coming months, and which could further complicate the situation in Holguin.
Deputy Minister Portal stated that Cuba has extensive experience in the management of dengue fever, to which he will give his full attention, and added that in reversing the situation in the province they can count on sufficient health professionals and they are the best in the country.
Dr. Jorge Luis Quiñones Aguilar, head of the provincial department of Education and Health Promotion, said that cases of fever and cases of diarrhea are continuing to appear, with most of the latter testing positive for cholera.
Quiñones Aguilar said that given the large numbers of patients flocking to hospitals it has been decided to have a fourth hospital, located on the campus of Celia Sanchez Manduley University. He acknowledged that positive tests for dengue fever continue to increase with a figure now over 90%; that is of 100 cases of patients with fever, most of them are positive for dengue.
“We should not underestimate any kind of fever in our homes. If we know a neighbor who does not want to go to the hospital we must report it without fear and anonymously,” said Quiñones Aguilar.
He said that so far Holguin has not had a lamentable loss of life from this outbreak of dengue fever, but that there are patients in serious danger of dying.