PAHO Broadens Surveillance for Mosquito-Borne Viruses in The Americas

In Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, laboratory specialists convened to deliberate on amplifying the deployment of tools for detecting and tracking mosquito-borne illnesses in the Americas. This initiative, steered by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), emerged at a time when parts of the region grapple with significant dengue outbreaks and heightened spread of chikungunya.

The role of RELDA
The Arbovirus Diagnosis Laboratory Network of the Americas (RELDA), for which PAHO serves as the technical secretariat, recently held its yearly conference.

Members, which encompasses 35 national laboratories from throughout the region, technical advisors, and WHO collaborating centers, aimed to explore avenues to broaden genomic and entomovirological monitoring of major arboviruses.

Sylvain Aldighieri, Deputy Director of PAHO’s Department of Health Emergencies, said that the current landscape reveals at least nine arboviruses, including dengue, zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever, active in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Given this backdrop, Aldighieri notes that augmenting lab detection and surveillance capabilities have become pivotal to promptly address outbreaks and epidemics.

CARPHA Warns Region To Continue Being Vigilant Against Zika, Dengue, And Chikungunya

Reports are that arboviruses are spread through the bites of arthropods, like mosquitoes and ticks.

Reports are that data from the beginning of 2023 until the end of July reveals over 3 million fresh dengue infections and upwards of 324,000 chikungunya cases in the Americas.

Moreover, reports state that Zika recorded 27,000 instances regionally in the same timeframe, presenting a reduced incidence.

Meanwhile, isolated occurrences of yellow fever persist as an ever-present threat, hinting at the possible resurgence of this potentially fatal ailment.

The need for prevention and monitoring strategies
PAHO’s regional advisor on arboviral diseases, José Luis San Martín, underscored the intricate epidemiological status of arboviruses in the region.

He emphasized the necessity for an integrated prevention and control mechanism that leverages innovative techniques to meticulously track these viruses in labs.

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the genomic monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 was instrumental in deciphering the virus and its strains, subsequently shaping public health guidelines.

Over the years, investments and global partnerships have strengthened RELDA labs, yielding significant results.

Currently, at least eight countries in the region have integrated genomic sequencing, in line with PAHO’s Regional Strategy for Genomic Surveillance.

Numerous nations are leveraging these capabilities, initiating sequencing for viruses such as dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, among others, with some doing so for the very first time.

You might also like