The Bolivian city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra (east) approved in its Municipal Council the purchase of vaccines to combat the worst dengue fever epidemic in the last 15 years, councilman Manuel Saavedra, told Sputnik on March 7.
“The first thing for it (the purchase of vaccines) to become effective is that the authorities are willing and aware that people are dying.”
“We are experiencing the most serious dengue fever epidemic in the last 15 years. Seven of 10 sick people in the country are in Santa Cruz. Of 10 people who die, eight are from Santa Cruz,” said Saavedra, from the Demócratas party.
Bolivia is suffering a dengue fever epidemic, with its epicenter in the department of Santa Cruz, and has already registered 40 deaths and 13,228 contagions, of which 9,727 are in this region.
“The fight against dengue that was carried out until today (with the destruction of breeding sites) was not effective, and we are not saying that the figures support it; there are more and more cases, more deaths of children,” questioned the politician.
Three dengue fever serotypes are circulating in Bolivia: DENV-1, DENV-2, and DENV-3, the second, more severe and contagious, prevails.
Given this scenario, the councilman sees as good news the existence of a vaccine to prevent dengue fever, a disease transmitted by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
“The Japanese laboratory Takeda manufactures the tetravalent vaccine, i.e., protects against the four strains of dengue fever and improves protection over time. Above all, it guarantees that we will not end up in a hospital,” he explained.
According to Saavedra, the European Commission approved in December 2022 the marketing in the European Union of Takeda’s Qdenga vaccine for the prevention of dengue fever from age four.
A bill approved by the Municipality of Santa Cruz authorizes the mayor to make the necessary arrangements with the central and departmental government to make it feasible for the vaccines to reach the territory.
According to data from the Pan American Health Organization, nearly 500 million people in the American continent are currently at risk of contracting dengue fever.