Dengue COMBI Plan,
Introduction: Belize is the only English speaking country in Central America with an
area of 8,867 sq. miles and a population of approximately 260,000 inhabitants. It is
bordered on the North by Mexico, South/West by Guatemala and on the East by the
Caribbean Sea and is comprised of six districts and eight major towns.
Classical dengue and dengue haemorrhagic fevers are a problem in all our neighboring
Central American countries for the past five years. For the year 2003, reports have shown
that there have been 1,932 cases of classical dengue and 96 dengue haemorrhagic cases
with 6 deaths in El Salvador. Honduras reported 31,508 cases of classical dengue and 244
cases of haemorrhagic dengue with 10 deaths. Belize recorded seven cases of classical
dengue for the past year with no deaths. It is only a matter of time for Belize to encounter
the problem of DF and DHF. These statistics will worsen unless urgent and effective
action is taken as it relates to proper garbage disposal and dumpsite management.
The economic impact of DF/DHF is enormous, placing significant burdens on affected
communities. This impact varies and can include loss of life. Medical expenditures for
hospitalization of patients, loss in productivity of affected workforce; strain on health
care services due to sudden, high demand during an epidemic. Considerable expenditures
for large scale emergency control actions occurs and also loss of tourism as a result of
negative publicity. (Meltzer et al, 1998; CDC.)
In the year 2002, the Belize Immigration Department reported 519,211 people visited
Belize not taking into consideration the numerous undocumented arrivals, this can result
in an exchange of dengue viruses and other pathogens.
Principal findings: It was observed that approximately 50% of home owners were not
practicing proper bagging and disposal of garbage.
Based on research done in previous years and complaints from approximately eight