Friday 23 October, 2020

Time to up dengue prevention game

Barbadians are being urged to increase mosquito control measures, in light of the very active hurricane season currently affecting the region.

These measures include ensuring that mosquito breeding sites are eliminated and that persons avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. This advice is coming from Associate Dean, Academic Affairs with the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, Dr. Colin Michie. 

For the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season, two weather systems, Tropical Storm Dorian- which moved up to a Category 5 storm- and Tropical Storm Karen have dumped several inches of rainfall on Barbados and other countries in the region.

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Dr. Michie told Loop News community effort is critical to reducing the risk of contracting dengue.

“Take all possible steps to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes. Dengue is contracted when a mosquito bites you, having previously bitten someone with dengue. Therefore, it is critical to ensure anyone with dengue, or possibly suffering with dengue, is not bitten. If you develop a fever, or know of someone with a fever, ensure they are not bitten by mosquitoes. Help others.”

The worldwide incidence of dengue is estimated to be around 280 to 530 million cases annually, with around one million cases showing identifiable symptoms.

As of August 2019, 2.5 million cases of dengue have been reported in the Americas, with 974 deaths recorded.

In the Caribbean, the number of reported cases of dengue stands at 18,019 with 23 of those persons dying. In Barbados, thus far for the year 24 cases have been reported with zero deaths. The numbers for 2018 show that there were 67 cases and in 2017, 398 cases.

Dr. Michie stressed dengue prevention measures should go beyond the mosquito control measures taken around the household.

“It needs to include measures such as mosquito nets around all hospital facilities and clinics where patients with fevers might attend. Ensure mosquitoes are not carried inside aircraft to other destinations where they might bite and infect another human."

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He said there is little that can be done to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs, as the species only requires small volumes of water. Dr. Michie suggested that residents not take action to kill or reduce the spider or bat populations in the area as these are useful mosquito predators. He also added it is useful to seek the advice of the Pan American Health Organisation, PAHO and local authorities to ensure there is no insecticide resistance in the mosquitoes in the region. 

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