While the world battles the coronavirus, Latin America is experiencing one of the worst dengue outbreaks in decades.
Many countries have been battling the mosquito-borne disease over the past year.
In 2020, in the span of a week, 10 people in Bolivia died from dengue fever. While in Colombia, 23 people died in January.
Authorities are trying to stop the spread of the disease by fumigating affected neighborhoods.
Dr. Rachel Lowe, an associate professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow, explains why this dengue outbreak in Latin America is so severe.
Lowe says it’s all about limiting contact between humans and mosquitoes but a person’s living conditions play an important role in breeding mosquitoes and spreading the disease.
If people are living in conditions optimal for mosquito breeding, such as not having adequate water storage and having to store it themselves, it creates the perfect environment for a dengue outbreak.
Lowe says information is key, and governments can take steps toward protecting people.
But for the eradication of dengue to be successful, Lowe says there must be a political will, investment and an effort to lift people out of poverty.
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