Rosa María Rodríguez Torrado, Translator: M. Ouellette
Participants of an anti-insect fumigation brigade from the Cuban public
health system commented on November 3rd that there is an elevated number
of cases of dengue in the Havana municipality of La Habana del Este.
Calling our attention is the recent increase of this acute viral illness
— transmitted by the female aedes aegypti mosquito — and the official
silence on the subject, explained by the overused pretext of not
alarming the public, but with the result of disinforming society about
topics of fundamental interest. Due to public service announcements on
national television and the intensity in calls by health workers to
eliminate the possible focus — reproduction springs and breeding grounds
— already there is popular distrust, "he has read straightness in the
twisted lines," and suspicion of the increase in cases for this pandemic
in our country. They further mention that the reported patients are
being attended to in their houses for the number of infected people and
the people's distrust of being admitted to the hospital, given their
substandard hygienic/sanitary conditions. This illness, that the aedes
albopictus also spreads, is known as "bone breaking" and produces fever,
headaches, and aching joints; it lasts approximately a week and can lead
to death. The increasing incidence of outbreaks has also been detected
in other capital area municipalities like Arroyo Naranjo, Old Havana,
Central Havana, and Diez de Octubre, but for the lack of informative
transparency we do not know the rates of dengue in the rest of the nation.
The causes of the proliferation of this transmitter fundamentally stem
from entrance areas, the lack of water in many households, and the
shortage of places to store it. In zones lacking daily supplies of this
vital liquid, inhabitants are obliged to store it in 55-gallon tanks
with improvised caps that do not close properly and facilitate the
entrance of these insects which then consequently start reproduction.
This is brought about by people arriving in our country with the
sickness, which then encounters adequate conditions for its propagation.
The state sells plastic tanks in convertible currency and at exorbitant
prices in hard currency stores that are not within reach of the average
Many distrust the magnitude of the problem and the fact that they are
asking citizens to open their doors to the fumigators without
hesitating. Secrecy by the authorities in almost all levels of national
life is traditional practice and secrecy concerning dengue is no
exception. It is taking place just as we arrive at the high tourist
season in Cuba.
Translated by: M. Ouellette
November 8 2011