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21 dead, 600 infected in Mali dengue outbreak

Authorities say dengue fever is on the rise in Mali, posing a new threat to the West African country struggling with extremist attacks and political turmoil.

Health and Public Health Director Dr. Cheik Amadou Tidiane Traoré told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday that the agency counted 21 deaths and 600 infections as of Monday.

Dengue fever is a viral infection spread by mosquitoes that primarily causes an influenza-like illness. In severe cases, it can cause joint pain, swollen glands, bleeding, and death. There is no specific treatment, but the World Health Organization recommends two vaccines for countries that regularly experience outbreaks.

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Mali’s government has not officially released statistics on the disease to the public, nor has it announced whether it has requested help from the WHO.

With the country in political transition and facing threats from al-Qaeda and Islamic State-linked fighters, a new dengue outbreak risks deteriorating the humanitarian situation, especially among large numbers of displaced people. There is.

FILE – Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District biologist Nadja Reisen examines mosquitoes in Salt Lake City, Aug. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

“Dengue is also present in Burkina Faso and Senegal and we need to raise public awareness,” Traore said.

The virus usually occurs in more tropical environments, but was first detected in relatively dry Mali in 2008. Reports of this virus resurfaced in 2017 and 2019. There is little long-term data on its prevalence.

In August, Chad’s government reported the country’s first dengue fever outbreak, with dozens of confirmed cases in the country. Like Mali, Chad is located in the vast Sahel region south of the Sahara Desert.

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Elsewhere, WHO has reported record numbers of dengue infections this year in Bangladesh and the Americas, with more than 300,000 cases and more than 4 million people infected each. .

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