67 known cases of dengue fever
SIXTY-SEVEN cases of dengue fever have been confirmed so far this year in Barbados.According to the Ministry of Health, 20 of these cases were confirmed during the first two weeks of August and three were classified as dengue haemorrhagic fever. Noting there had been a sharp rise in suspected and confirmed cases of dengue fever here and in some other Caribbean countries, the ministry said it had intensified its dengue fever surveillance and undertaken measures to reduce mosquito breeding places around the island.Members of the public are also advised that public health officials would continue to undertake all preventive and control measures as needed at this time. The ministry added that doctors had been sensitised about the diagnosis and treatment of dengue and laboratory support existed for the confirmation of such cases, while the Queen Elizabeth Hospital also had measures in place.
Control measuresMeanwhile, the Environmental Health Department, in an effort to reduce the Aedes aegypti mosquito population that transmits dengue, continues to implement several prevention and control measures, such as house to house, hotel/guest house inspections, investigation of mosquito complaints and suspected/confirmed dengue cases, fogging of mosquito-infected areas, spraying of aircraft from dengue-affected areas, monitoring of the mosquito population at the ports of entry, and treatment of mosquito breeding sites.Furthermore, the department has enhanced its capacity to plan its response to complaints by using a geographical information system to map all factors related to mosquito control. This is the first time that this technology is being applied to vector control management in Barbados. Members of the public are reminded that eliminating places where water can collect around the home and community is one of the most effective measures for controlling mosquito breeding and stopping the spread of dengue fever. Measures include covering water containers, properly disposing of unwanted containers and tyres, covering and sealing wells and septic tanks and keeping roof gutters clean. (BGIS)