EID Weekly Updates:
Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Diseases, Region of the Americas
Vol. 2, No. 21—24 June 2004
18 June 2004: In a press release, the Secretary of Health of Puerto Rico confirmed the detection of West Nile Virus (WNV) in three horses from the area around Fajardo, based on the confirmation issued this week by both the Department of Health of Puerto Rico and the Dengue Division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), located in San Juan.
These new findings can be added to those on the two native birds that tested positive for WNV among the 183 captured in the Roosevelt Roads area in Ceiba, which were considered to be the first instances where the virus was be detected in Puerto Rico.
Faced with the introduction of West Nile Virus, authorities are working to strengthen the surveillance system for the early detection of cases among humans, in animals, and in vectors. To date, no human cases have been reported.
The Department of Health issued a strong warning to the population to adhere to personal protection for disease prevention now that this new agent has been introduced into Puerto Rico.
Source: Press release from the Department of Health of Puerto Rico contained in an e-mail communication sent to the PAHO Communicable Disease Unit.
24 June 2004: Up to 23 June 2004, the Ministries of Health of Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Bolivia reported to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) the occurrence of 86 confirmed cases of Jungle Yellow Fever (JYF), with 41 deaths. In all the countries, cases occurred predominantly among males over the age of 15 who work in the countryside. The case distribution by Epidemiological Week (EW) and by country is shown in Figure 1.
Considering the extensive infestation by Aedes aegypti in all the countries of the Region, with the exception of the continental part of Chile, the occurrence of outbreaks increases the risk of the reurbanization of Yellow Fever. The PAHO Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Vaccinations has systematically recommended that the countries vaccinate all persons residing in enzootic areas in the Americas for Yellow Fever, as well as all travelers to those areas, and introduce routine vaccination for children against the disease. Also highly recommended is putting into place control measures against A. aegypti in accordance with PAHO recommendations for the control of this vector.
Evidence of the spread of Yellow Fever, through the confirmation of at least one human case and of epizootics (dead monkeys), is sufficient grounds for initiating outbreak-control measures in the affected municipality and immediate vicinity. These measures include vaccinating all residents who lack proof of previous inoculation against Yellow Fever, vaccinating all those traveling to the area, actively searching for suspected cases, putting into place surveillance of both febrile icteric syndrome and epizootics, in addition to declaring epidemiological alerts. If new cases are identified in other municipalities of the Region, the vaccination ring should be expanded along with other control measures.
Source: Reports to PAHO from the Ministries of Health of Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Bolivia; data in Figure 1 also include information from reports sent to PAHO by the Ministry of Health of Venezuela.