Health Minister Donville Inniss????

With a dengue outbreak having been declared in Trinidad and Tobago and the region concerned that mosquito-borne dengue could reach epidemic proportions, Barbados’ Health Ministry is taking no chances.

??It is placing emphasis on a stepped up campaign in respect of dengue fever prevention and control and is appealing to citizens to support the effort through appropriate responses.

This was made clear today by Health Minister, Donville Inniss, as he spoke to the media during a press conference in the Main Conference Room of the Frank Walcott Building, Culloden Road.??

Mr. Inniss noted that fogging teams would continue to intensify the campaign to target the adult mosquito but stressed that it was equally important for persons to open their windows and doors "so as to allow the fog to enter your homes."

He called on householders to conduct an inspection of their premises at least once weekly and asked that they recognise that other breeding sites included used tyres, water storage tanks and plant saucers.

"The Ministry of Health requires the full support of all citizens on the island in removing all sources of mosquito breeding from our homes and neighbourhoods," Mr. Inniss said, while urging citizens "to carefully cover any water that is stored and to clear gutters and drains".

The Ministry of Health conducts weekly laboratory surveillance at the Leptospira Laboratory where confirmation of dengue fever takes place for public and private patients.?? The presence of a fever, for which the cause is not immediately apparent, is an early warning sign of dengue fever that is used in surveillance protocol.

It is also imperative that medical practitioners report details on suspected cases of dengue fever to the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health, so as to ensure prompt investigation by environmental health officers.

Since 2008, there has been ongoing sensitisation of medical students, interns and medical practitioners in the "Guidelines for Diagnosis and Treatment of Dengue Fever".

In addition, the Environmental Health Department continues to implement several activities related to mosquito control. These activities include continuous training in vector control measures at public and private facilities, house-to-house inspection, public education, investigation of mosquito-related complaints, as well as investigation of suspected and confirmed cases of dengue fever.

To date, the Ministry’s surveillance system has received reports of 29 confirmed cases of dengue fever for the period January 3 to July 24, as compared to 43 for the same period last year.?? While there were two deaths in 2009, none has been reported so far in 2010. jgill@barbados.gov.bb

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