October 24, 2013
Honduras 2013 © Natacha Buhler/MSF
An epidemic of hemorrhagic dengue fever is spreading through San Pedro Sula, Honduras’s second largest city, with more than three times as many cases as last year. This form of dengue can be deadly, with children most at risk.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams have launched an emergency response to bring down the number of children dying from the mosquito-borne disease by providing support to health authorities in the main public hospital in northeastern Honduras.
“The epidemic represents a great threat to the population,” said MSF Medical Coordinator Dr. Luis Neira. “Since we started to work here, we’ve seen a constant flow of patients. We are focusing on providing emergency assistance to children under 15 years of age.”
The number of suspected cases of hemorrhagic dengue fever reported in the region in August 2013 was up 235 percent over the previous year. Local health authorities were overwhelmed, prompting MSF to launch its response.
The team has set up a dengue unit in three of the hospital’s children’s wards, with MSF medical staff supporting and training hospital health staff. In the two months since starting work there, the MSF team has treated more than 560 children in the hospital’s emergency unit, one quarter of them under the age of five.
© 2013 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)