CARPHA urges Region to prepare for possible dengue outbreak

first_imgThe Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has alerted countries within the Region of a possible dengue fever outbreak while urging that preparations be on-stream to handle such a situation.While the last regional outbreak was recorded in the year 2009, there have also been outbreaks of other mosquito-borne diseases, mainly Chikungunya in 2014 and the Zika Virus in 2016.Notably indicating that Chikungunya and Zika are unlikely to make a comeback in the near future, the Agency related that disease modelling predicts that a dengue outbreak is looming.According to statistics from 2018, Latin America showed an increase in the number of dengue cases. More recently, the outbreak of dengue in Jamaica has elevated the level of concern in other Caribbean nations.As such, advice is being administered to neighbouring countries, urging them to implement enhanced measures to reduce mosquito breeding and prevent the spread of disease.Dengue is a flu-like illness which affects infants, young children and adults. The symptoms usually begin four to 10 days after infection and include high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash.However, this condition can evolve to severe dengue, characterised by potentially deadly complications such as internal haemorrhaging, intense and continuous abdominal pain or tenderness, and persistent vomiting. In severe cases, it can result in death.It is known that the disease can be of major threat to a country’s population, but there are underlying implications for tourism and social and economic development.CARPHA lists dengue as a global health problem and like Zika and Chikungunya; consequently, there is no specific treatment for the disease. Adding to that, the <<>> mosquito vector, which spreads dengue, is present in all Caribbean territories.The incoming rainy season will require intensified awareness activities and mosquito awareness. A few beginning tips include increased health messages, efforts from communities to eliminate breeding sites, and disseminate clinical care and treatment guidelines. But the most effective method of prevention is preventing mosquito bites.CARPHA Executive Director, Dr C James Hospedales stated, “We all need to clean up our surroundings.  The two most important things to manage mosquito populations in our Caribbean countries are to manage water storage drums and tanks, and properly dispose of used vehicle tyres to prevent mosquitos breeding.”Further action can be taken to cover drums and tanks, clean the guttering, and remove stagnant water sources.Persons should take extra precautions by using insect repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, IR 3535, and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.Meanwhile, cases of H1N1 virus have also posed a threat in recent times to countries such as Trinidad and Tobago.Amid this, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shamdeo Persaud had posited that the situation was under control with provisions at arrival ports to monitor passenger activities.Dr Persaud stated that ferry docks and arrival terminals at airports were equipped with a framework, which was expected to be implemented for all passengers. This includes the flight declaration being appraised to indicate if such cases enter the country.“We continue to maintain our port health requirement for all arriving flights and vessels. A person must do the general flight declaration, which would give us a fair idea as to any sick person is coming in. Port health departments would usually document those cases and follow them up, so those provisions are in place,” said the CMO.last_img read more