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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

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TORRES, Eric Martínez. Preventing deaths from dengue: a space and challenge for primary health care. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2006, vol.20, n.1, pp. 60-74. ISSN 1020-4989.

Dengue is an arthropod-borne viral disease whose frequency has increased steadily in the Americas over the past 25 years. The type of dengue that carries the highest mortality is the clinical variant known as dengue hemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome (DHF/DSS). Even though no vaccine or drug against the disease is available, successful management consists of preventing serious illness through patient follow-up and monitoring danger signals so as to be able to initiate aggressive intravenous rehydration and prevent shock or treat it early and successfully. These measures are also useful in preventing other complications, such as massive hemorrhage, disseminated intravascular coagulation, multiple organ failure, and respiratory failure due to non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema. Primary health care (PHC) settings and the community are ideal spaces for this type of preventive management based on health education and active case detection. It involves training all medical and nursing staff, students, and community health workers, as well as reorganizing health care in PHC units and hospitals and redistributing available resources during a dengue epidemic.

Keywords : dengue; dengue hemorrhagic fever; primary health care; prevention; mortality.

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