Increased surveillance and additional fogging equipment are among the measures being undertaken to combat dengue fever in Barbados.
This was disclosed today by Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, while speaking to the media following a handing over ceremony at the Pan American Health Organization at Dayrell’s Road, Christ Church.
Expressing concern about the increase in the Aedes aegypti mosquito population, he explained that the Ministry had scaled up its methods to identify breeding sites.
“We recognise that there were some challenges, but we started to address them by contracting some persons to assist the environmental health officers because as you would appreciate we are dealing still with COVID-19, non-communicable diseases…. Those persons were trained and put into the field, helping us to identify mosquito breeding sites.
“We were able to do some mapping of where the complaints were coming from so that there’s a targeted approach …. We have divided the island into two sectors and there will be two teams working in each sector, and we believe we will be able to keep on top of the situation.”
He also said the Ministry was awaiting the arrival of equipment, which would help to boost its fogging exercises.
“We have also ordered several hand-held mosquito foggers, as well as vehicle mounted foggers, so we would have a fleet of five vehicle mounted teams, going around to be able to deal with the problem,” the Health Minister announced.
Meanwhile, Acting Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Kenneth George, reported that there were two dengue-related deaths.
“One was a young child, eight years old, who had a pre-existing significant condition, so we are awaiting confirmation. And the other individual did not have any associated pre-disposing conditions, so that was one that was worrisome,” he revealed.
As it relates to cases of the mosquito-borne illness, Dr. George said it was common to record a dengue outbreak every four to five years, but noted the latest figures were “within the normal threshold expected around this time in previous years”.
And the CMO has reiterated the call for Barbadians to play their part in helping to eradicate mosquito breeding sites, and ultimately prevent the spread of dengue fever.
“Our reports for the month of December did not show a rise beyond the threshold level. We are here to encourage Barbadians, particularly as we know there has been an outbreak [of dengue] in the region with several deaths, that they have their role to play, while the Ministry will continue to play its role with respect to investigating complaints and carrying out our fogging-related activities,” Dr. George stated.