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Posted: Tuesday 9 July, 2024 at 2:28 PM

Vigilance urged over mosquito-borne diseases

By: Staff Reporter,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts -- THE Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has issued a call for member states to remain vigilant against mosquito-borne diseases, which continue to pose a serious public health threat to the Caribbean Region.


    In recent weeks, CARPHA has observed an increase in reports of Dengue outbreaks, with some cases resulting in hospitalizations and fatalities. Additionally, recent laboratory tests have confirmed cases of Zika and Chikungunya.


    St. Kitts and Nevis have recorded Dengue cases in recent months and have taken proactive measures to educate residents on protecting themselves from these outbreaks.


    Dr. Lisa Indar, Ad Interim Executive Director at CARPHA, highlighted a significant rise in suspected Dengue cases across the Americas, reporting a two-hundred-fold increase in the first half of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023.


    In light of these developments, Dr. Indar emphasized the importance of heightened surveillance, prevention, and control measures to curb the spread of arboviruses in the Caribbean.


    Dr. Horace Cox, Assistant Director of Surveillance, Disease Prevention, and Control at CARPHA, reiterated that these viral infections are primarily transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is endemic to the region.


    "As the hurricane season begins, CARPHA urges member states to enhance integrated vector management strategies within their communities. This includes eliminating mosquito breeding sites to reduce larvae populations," Dr. Cox advised.


    CARPHA noted that Dengue outbreaks typically occur every three to five years and have previously posed significant challenges to public health systems across the region during outbreaks of Chikungunya and Zika virus infections.


    The agency also reminded the public that Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are active during the daytime, underscoring the importance of personal preventive measures to minimize mosquito bites. Extra caution is advised for vulnerable groups such as infants, young children, older adults, and pregnant or trying-to-conceive women.


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