Even as the country focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic, Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kenneth George, is adamant that Barbadians need to be alert when it comes to mosquito breeding on their premises to avoid dengue.
He was responding to a query about the impact of dengue during a press conference at Ilaro Court on plans for the management of the COVID-19 pandemic for the remainder of this holiday season.
The Acting Chief Medical Officer told media representatives it was “just a good opportunity that even while talking about COVID, to remind Barbadians that along with the fogging undertaken by the environmental inspectorate, they had a responsibility “to ensure their premises were checked twice a week for mosquito larvae”.
Dr. George had earlier noted that in relation to the Graeme Hall Swamp, in Christ Church, the Health Ministry had always looked at it very carefully given that on a small basis it contained the Anopheles and the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, two vectors which transmit diseases.
While noting the Ministry’s continued commitment to ensuring the southern part of Barbados was always fogged and that teams go out on a repetitive basis, he added: “Our challenge is that, yes, we did indicate that for October our levels were a little higher than the standard call, so, it did meet the threshold for an outbreak [dengue], but fortunately for November those levels turned back to the levels that have been seen in previous years.”
Acknowledging that at the moment it was a bit too early, but there was increased activity and several hospitalisations, the Acting Chief Medical Officer said: “You might have heard in the press that there were several deaths in the region, but fortunately Barbados, we have been, I would say, blessed, but we have to keep up our guard on this, and while in a COVID pandemic the Ministry of Health will keep its eyes on all areas of public health significance. That is what we try to do – to make sure that the public is safe.”
Further stressing that many issues surrounding public health required cooperation from the public, Dr. George urged the media to encourage persons to understand the science and to take simple measures to protect themselves and their families.