16.1 C
New York
Thursday, September 28, 2023

Dengue outbreak in Peru reaches 200K cases, 200 dead, heightened by El Niño rains

Peru’s worst dengue outbreak on record could intensify further as an El Niño climate phenomenon brings torrential rains and mosquitoes, driving the death toll this year past 200 with over 130,000 recorded cases, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Dengue fever is an aedes aegypti mosquito-borne tropical disease that can provoke a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pain, and sometimes death.


A doctor checks on dengue fever patients as they rest under a mosquito net at the Support Hospital II in Sullana, Piura department, in northern Peru, on June 9, 2023. (ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP via Getty Images)

Worker fumigates

A Ministry of Health worker fumigates against the dengue virus in the San Juan de Lurigancho neighborhood of Lima, Peru, on Friday, May 19, 2023. (Sebastian Castaneda/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The country’s health authorities have pointed towards the natural climate phenomenal, El Niño, as one of the key drivers of the surge in cases. 

El Niño is a cyclical warming of the world’s oceans and weather, which fuels tropical cyclones in the Pacific, boosting rainfall and flood risk in the region. The increase in rainfall brings mass reproduction of mosquitoes due to the accumulation of water in the cities.

Patient on stretcher

Health workers move a patient with dengue fever at the Support Hospital II in Sullana, Piura department, in northern Peru, on June 9, 2023.  (ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP via Getty Images)

On Thursday, June 8, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared that an El Niño is now underway. The past three years have been dominated by the cooler La Niña pattern.


Scientists say this year looks particularly worrying. The last strong El Niño was in 2016, and the world saw its hottest year on record. 

Gutiérrez said the figure is the highest since 2017, when there were 68,290 cases and 89 deaths.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Related Articles

Stay Connected


Latest Articles