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Dengue in Argentina and New Omicron Subvariant on the Spotlight

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As the worst part of the COVID pandemic has already passed, it may feel like the virus has passed. However, viruses adapt to new environments as well as humans, and COVID is no exception. In fact, a new Omicron subvariant has been reported in many countries, with rising cases.

At the same time, other diseases like Dengue are spreading around with more ease due to the change in climatic conditions around the world. As we talked about in a previous report, it started in Bolivia, spread to Europe, and has recently peaked in Argentina.

In this post, we’ll cover both topics so you can travel informed and prepared. Without further ado, let’s begin.

Peak of Dengue in Argentina

In a previous traveler’s report, we shared the news about Dengue fever causing an epidemiological alert in many areas of Bolivia.

Now, Argentina is also experiencing its second dengue outbreak since 2020, with:

  • 40 reported fatal cases
  • More than 60.000 infected individuals

Even though most cases are mainly found near the borders with Chile and Bolivia, the virus was found in 14 provinces:

  • Buenos Aires
  • Córdoba
  • Corrientes
  • Formosa
  • Chaco
  • Entre Ríos
  • Santa Fe
  • Salta
  • Santiago del Estero
  • San Luis
  • Tucumán
  • Catamarca
  • Jujuy
  • La Rioja

According to the Ministry of Health, dengue cases have already peaked. Moreover, biologist Marianela Garcia Alba said the Aedes aegypti mosquito is now able to spread faster than ever. She explained this is due to the rise in temperature in Argentina and the world, the same reason why the mosquito population is spreading southward.

So, if you’re thinking about traveling to Argentina, stay alert and follow our guide for travelers on how to prevent dengue.

New Omicron Subvariant in the Spotlight

Three weeks ago, the WHO reported that the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.16 is no longer a “variant under monitoring”, but a “variant of interest”. But what does this mean? Should you worry?

Well, the WHO has established three categories for COVID variants to easily prioritize global monitoring and research.

On the less threatening level, we have the Variants Under Monitoring (VUM). Their impact on global public health remains unclear, so the only course of action suggested by the WHO is to monitor these variants’ development.

Next, we have the Variants of Interest (VOI). These are the ones identified to have increasing cases and prevalence over time, suggesting an emerging risk to global public health.

And finally, on the most threatening level, we have the Variants of Concern (VOC). These are the ones that require major public health interventions. This is because they follow at least one of the following criteria:

  • Have been detrimental to the clinical severity of the disease
  • Have changed COVID-19 epidemiology, causing a substantial impact on the ability of health systems to provide care to patients
  • Severe disease can’t be contained by available vaccines

So, as for this new Omicron subvariant, this means it no longer represents a minimum risk. It has been spreading, and health authorities are now keeping a close eye on it while urging the population to take preventive measures.

The spike in COVID cases associated with the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.16 has been focused in India. The sample positivity rate in the city of Deli is now around 25%. However, it has been spotted in other 32 countries too.

The United States is one of the countries that have joined this trend. The new Omicron subvariant accounted for 10% of the reported COVID cases, surpassing the previous month’s cases, which accounted for 6%.

However, there’s good news. According to the WHO, even though the subvariant is spreading faster than others, it doesn’t seem to cause more severe illness.

Key Takeaways

As you plan your trip, don’t overlook your destination’s public health concerns. Being mindful of the diseases spreading, such as Dengue and COVID, surely is not as exciting as traveling. But, it is better to be safe than to risk interrupting your trip by being sick.

Need a COVID test before you go on your next adventure? Discover testing locations near you with our international directory.

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