BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - THE Ministry of Health (MoH) declared that there have been confirmed cases of Dengue Fever in the Federation and is urging the citizes and residents to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves.
In its statement, the MOH announced that there were three confirmed cases of the virus this past week alone, attributing them to the increase in rainfall associated with the passage of Tropical Storm Philippe.
“Increase in rainfall is often associated with an increase in mosquito vector levels and an increase in risk of spread of mosquito related diseases such as Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya,” the statement read.
In recent weeks, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) had reported an upsurge in laboratory confirmed cases of Dengue in the region, and Dengue outbreaks have been reported in three CARPHA member states.
According to the MoH, Dengue viral infection is caused by the Dengue virus which is transmitted mainly by female mosquitoes of the species – Aedes Aegypti - which is prevalent in the Federation.
It is against that backdrop, the Ministry noted that “St. Kitts & Nevis is at risk for a Dengue outbreak”.
“Therefore, it is imperative that the Ministry of Health (MoH), through its Environmental Health Departments, augment/strengthen its mosquito surveillance efforts/activities to reduce the risk of mosquito-related diseases like Dengue,” the statement read.
Just recently, the former Executive Director of CARPHA, James Hospedalis, acknowledged that the rise of mosquito-borne diseases could be the new normal because of Climate Change.
He explained that the change patterns would drive mosquitoes to various islands that have not seen various viruses in many years, while also noting that the return of travel is another factor.
Meanwhile, the Ministry advised that, “Dengue is a flu-like illness that affects infants, young children and adults. Symptoms usually begin four to ten days after being bitten by a dengue infected mosquito. The symptoms include high fever, headaches, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains and skin rash. The illness can evolve into severe Dengue, characterized by intense and continuous abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, and mucosal bleeding. Affected persons should access medical care at the nearest health center or hospital if these occur.”
In order to combat the problem, the Ministry has urged the following:
1. Protect yourself by using personal repellents on skin & clothes;
2. Use bed nets if adult mosquitoes are prevalent;
3. Wear protective clothing like long pants and long-sleeved tops;
4. Protect your homes by using screens for doors and windows;
5. Protect your homes, schools and offices by disposing of all bottles, cans, and water holding containers in an approved refuse bin with appropriate covers. Keep lawn, grass and vegetation trimmed;
6. Change and replenish water in vases daily;
7. Change and replenish pet and animal drinking troughs daily;
8. Store all used and new tyres in a dry place;
9. Report any body of stagnant water to the local Environmental Health Department; and
10. If you are experiencing fever, joint pains, pain behind eyes and a rash, you should seek medical care at the nearest health facility.