Comprehensive inspections of a number of institutions across Barbados, including medical facilities and schools, and a robust public relations campaign, have contributed to a major reduction in cases of dengue fever on the island.

Figures for dengue fever presently stand at 100 infections so far this year, compared with 1,100 for 2013. They also indicate that the island has recorded seven confirmed cases of the chikungunya virus, of which six were imported and one local, and another 50 suspected cases. Both diseases are caused by the aedes eygpti mosquito.

These were among statistics outlined to members of the media on Thursday during a press conference at the Ministry of Health.

Chief Environmental Health Officer, Tyrone Applewhaite, said over the last few weeks, teams visited areas where cricket was being played, and those used as venues for Crop Over, to carry out inspections and fogging to reduce the number of mosquitoes in the areas.

He added that educational institutions, including their overhead and underground tanks, were also inspected this week in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, especially in light of last year???s epidemic, which saw a significant number of students and teachers being infected.

Mr. Applewhaite said officials were also presently carrying out inspections at hotels and medical facilities, and in the junction boxes of utility companies.

??????What we are trying to do is reduce the number of mosquitoes around so we can reduce the risk of transmission of both chikungunya and dengue,??? the Chief Environmental Health Officer said.
He added that his department was also continuing work in high risk areas, where high levels of mosquito activity continued to be recorded.

However, Mr. Applewhaite stressed that the public was responding well to the Ministry???s mosquito eradication campaign.

???We have a very high educational component of the programme and we are very happy that the majority of the population is sensitised to chikungunya,??? he said.

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