Getting Dengue in Cuba

Osmel Almaguer


HAVANA TIMES — I’d always thought of the whole dengue fever business as something that happens to others, something people can die from, but not anyone close to me. I imagine a lot of people think this way and will continue to do so. I don’t think this way anymore.

A few days ago, I had dengue and, even though I didn’t catch the hemorrhaging type (which is the strain that can cause death), I am a bit more cautious. They say the disease is more dangerous the second time you get it. My friend’s mother almost died of it not long ago.

I believe that the direct experience of pain makes one more sensitive. Public warnings take on a more distinct meaning. Though I didn’t suffer any serious discomfort, I was bed-ridden for almost two weeks.

Fever and skin rashes were the most evident symptoms. I also suffered some stomach aches. The most shocking thing for me was discovering I had dengue after a week of symptoms, the day I woke up with my face swollen up like a baseball glove.

In the short while I was at the polyclinic, I saw about ten other people with dengue go by. They were given the choice to stay at the hospital or ride out the illness at home. Everyone, including myself, chose the second option.

The hospitals in this country aren’t in any shape that would make you want to spend time in them (if it’s not absolutely necessary). What’s more, you can catch a virus or a bacterium from other patients, and then things really become complicated.

So, I went home, with instructions to drink plenty of fluids and sleep under a mosquito net.

The Cuban State invests millions to combat this disease. However, to date, these efforts have not yielded the desired results. There’s much negligence among fumigators and those responsible for coordinating disease control efforts.

There are plenty of people not doing what they should, and that is a disease more serious and widespread than dengue.

2 thoughts on “Getting Dengue in Cuba

  • You don’t want to stay in hospitals the US or Canada either. In Canada up to 12000 patients die each year from hospital acquired infections. In the US hospitals almost 100000 people die from hospital acquired infections each year. The safest place to be sick is at home.

  • We have the same problem here in Brazil. Every summer is a problem

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