Honduras is a Central American Hot-Spot for Dengue & Mumps

Dengue fever and mumps virus can be prevented with vaccines
Honduran children
Central America (Vax Before Travel)

During a press conference on October 30, 2018, the Honduran Ministry of Health said, ‘they are calling on the population to maintain their fight against the mosquitoes that transmit the dengue fever virus.’ 

Honduras health authorities have asked the population for help eliminating the breeding sites for the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which most often transmits the viral dengue virus to humans. 

Diana Núñez, head of the Honduras Health Surveillance Unit, gave the statistics of dengue cases for week #41 of 2018, reporting 5,603 confirmed cases, and 3 fatalities. 

Over 93 percent of these dengue cases were reported in Cortés (154), San Pedro Sula (120), Olancho and Yoro with (31) each, the Central District (26) and El Paraíso (14) cases. 

During the same period of 2017, only 4,644 cases dengue were reported. This is an increase of 20 percent. 

Due to this alarming increase in dengue fever cases in Honduras, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has launched an emergency intervention in Tegucigalpa, which is the capital of Honduras.   

“I had come across the previous kind of dengue,” said Herminia Moncada, whose son was recently admitted to a Honduras hospital with the disease. 

“But this is different. This dengue kills,” said Moncada to MSF.   

The Honduran Ministry of Health has been responding to the high number of cases of dengue by making more hospital beds available and setting up specialized units in health centers in outlying areas. 

“With dengue, we are unable to identify beforehand the patients who will improve rapidly. All we can do is to control the symptoms and treat the consequences while waiting for the body to stabilize,” said Dr. Elisabeth Bragança, in charge of the MSF emergency ward. 

Additionally, Honduras is confronted with another disease outbreak. 

On September 21st, 2018, the Honduran health authorities declared a mumps outbreak, reporting over 5,000 cases since January 2018. 

This compares with just 138 mumps cases reported during 2017.

According to reporting by teleSUR, the Honduran Ministry of Health announced a state of emergency for the northern department of Cortés, where 3,740 mumps cases have been reported.

Additionally, the Honduran Ministry of Health said ‘that there are currently over 3 million adults susceptible to the mumps virus because they never received the MMR vaccination. 

As of October 30, 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had not issued a Travel Alert for visitors to Honduras. 

But, on September 20, 2018, the US State Department issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory, saying travelers should ‘Reconsider Travel’ to Honduras, due to increased risks. 

The CDC does recommend travelers to Honduras should be vaccinated against several infectious diseases, including, but not limited to the mumps, measles, hepatitis, and yellow fever.

Most pharmacies offer mumps vaccination services, and appointments can be easily scheduled at Vax-Before-Travel. 

Both the MMR and ProQuad vaccines contain protection against mumps. 

Before traveling internationally, people should be protected against mumps, says the CDC. 

Children should receive the first MMR dose at age 12 through 15 months and the second dose at age 4 through 6 years before school entry. Children can receive the second dose earlier as long as it is at least 28 days after the first dose.

Teenagers and adults without evidence of immunity to mumps should have 2 doses of MMR vaccine, separated by at least 28 days.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides private sector vaccine prices for general information. And, vaccine discounts can be found here. 

MMR vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.