Dengue Fever On The Rise

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There has been a sharp rise in suspected and confirmed cases of dengue fever in Barbados and in some Caribbean countries.

As a consequence, the Ministry of Health has intensified its dengue fever surveillance and undertaken measures to reduce mosquito breeding places around the island.

According to the Ministry 67 cases of dengue fever have been confirmed so far this year.?? Of these, 20, were confirmed during the first two weeks of August and three cases of these were classified as dengue haemorrhagic fever.

Members of the public are advised that public health officials will continue to undertake all preventive and control measures as needed at this time.?? Physicians have been sensitised about the diagnosis and treatment of dengue and laboratory support exists for the confirmation of such cases.?? The Queen Elizabeth Hospital also has measures in place.

The Environmental Health Department, in an effort to reduce the aedes aegypti mosquito population that transmits dengue, is continuing to implement several prevention and control measures, such as house to house, hotel/guest house inspections; investigation of mosquito complaints and suspected, as well as confirmed dengue cases; fogging of mosquito infected areas; spraying of aircraft from dengue affected areas; monitoring of the mosquito population at the ports of entry and treatment of mosquito breeding sites.

Moreover, the Department has enhanced its capacity to plan its response to complaints from the general public by using a geographical information system to map all factors related to mosquito control.?? This is the first time that this technology is being applied to vector control management in Barbados and allows for a more efficient deployment of resources.??

It is also collaborating with a range of community stakeholders to conduct training in source reduction and to eliminate mosquito breeding in underground water collections.??

Members of the public are reminded that eliminating places where water can collect around the home and community is one of the most effective measures for controlling mosquito breeding and stopping the spread of dengue fever.??

Such measures include: covering water containers, proper disposal of unwanted containers and tyres, covering and sealing wells and septic tanks and keeping roof gutters clean.

Dengue fever is an acute, viral disease which is only spread by the bite of an infected aedes aegypti mosquito. Symptoms include sudden high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes which worsens with eye movement; muscle and joint pain, loss of appetite, measles-like rash on the chest and upper limbs; and nausea and vomiting.?? Persons who think they have dengue fever should not use aspirin or drugs containing aspirin.??

Dengue haemorrhagic fever is usually a complication of repeat dengue fever infection, in which bleeding and shock may occur. It is advisable to seek prompt medical attention if any of these symptoms develop.??

There are no travel restrictions for individuals entering or leaving Barbados.?? However, the Ministry of Health will continue to give regular updates as the situation warrants. clashley@barbados.gov.bb

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