Direct Relief is preparing an emergency air shipment of medicine to partner Proyecto Aldea Global/Project Global Village to address the outbreak of dengue fever in Honduras. With more than 8,380 cases reported to date, dengue has been on a steady rise in Honduras since June, tripling the number of cases recorded at this time in 2012.
Project Global Village works in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa and in many of the surrounding areas where the majority of cases have occurred. The emergency shipment, valued at more than $1 million wholesale, contains acetaminophen to reduce fevers and and intravenous rehydration to balance fluids and speed recovery, as well as basic pharmaceuticals generously donated by Allergan, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Virtus Pharmaceuticals.
Dengue fever is a virus which is primarily spread by mosquitoes, most commonly in low-elevation, tropical environments. In some cases, the disease develops into the far more serious hemorrhagic dengue, which increases mortality rates from less than 1 in 20 to 1 in 4. The disease is more common among children and infants, and can be especially severe in people with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and asthma.
Staff at Project Global Village report that many of the products in this shipment will be stored for use in what is expected to be a difficult year for mudslides and flooding. Their team is also conducting public education outreach efforts about eliminating standing pools of water, especially in rural areas, to prevent the proliferation of mosquitoes, one of the best ways to manage the disease.
Dengue fever causes about 25,000 deaths annually. A dangerous epidemic has been recorded in over 110 countries, but is particularly severe in South East Asia, Latin America, and throughout the Caribbean. No vaccine exists for dengue.