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Dengue epidemic continues on St. Maarten; 29 confirmed cases in October

FRIDAY, 06 DECEMBER 2013

PHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten is still experiencing a dengue fever epidemic and residents are urged to continue their mosquito prevention measures.

There were a total of 29 confirmed dengue cases in October, while 102 lab requests were made. There were 53 cases in September and 68 cases in August, the Health Ministry’s Collective Preventive Services (CPS) said in a press release last night.

The cumulative number of confirmed dengue cases from January to October is 255. The type of dengue circulating throughout the country is DenV4 (Dengue Virus Type 4).

Vector control activities continue to be executed by the Ministry with respect to a prompt response to search indoors, yards and gardens for mosquito breeding sites, it was stated in the release.

Residents with dengue fever symptoms are urged to consult with their family physicians, who can refer them to the lab for laboratory tests that will confirm whether they have dengue and who can give the proper advice to ensure a healthy recovery avoiding other health risks.

Dengue symptoms include high fever, severe headache, backache, joint and eye pain, nausea and vomiting, and rash. Once a person has developed a fever, the infectious period lasts for about a week. Most people recover without any complications, using pain relievers, liquid intake (preferably water or juice) and bed rest. Persons are urged to avoid self-medication.

CPS called on the populace to take daily actions to eliminate mosquito breeding opportunities around their homes and workplaces.

“On a daily basis check containers such as buckets and water tanks for larvae and eliminate the breeding source. Water tanks should be properly secured and screened to prevent mosquitoes from entering.” If there aren’t any containers with water for mosquitoes to lay their eggs, there won’t be any adult mosquitoes.

Dengue fever is transmitted by the female vector Aedes Aegypti mosquito. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is distinguished by its markings: The body of the mosquito has alternate black and white horizontal stripes. The mosquito lays its eggs in clear (clean) stagnant water. Within eight days the mosquito can complete its life cycle from egg to larvae to pupae to adult mosquito.

“Even after you have cleaned up your yard and surroundings, it is recommended for persons to walk around their surroundings on a weekly basis and after every rain event to eliminate all possible breeding sites,” residents were told.

Minister of Public Health Cornelius de Weever’s “Get Checked” campaign is in line with the urgent appeal for residents and business owners to check in and around their homes and businesses to reduce breeding sites of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito and make them mosquito-free zones.

Homeowners can reduce the number of areas where adult mosquitoes can find shelter by cutting down weeds adjacent to the house foundation and in their yards, and mowing the lawn regularly.

“On a daily basis check plants in your yard for mosquito breeding sites, keep vegetation properly trimmed and avoid overgrown vegetation. Check around construction sites or do-it-yourself improvements to ensure that proper backfilling and grading is realized to prevent drainage problems which can be a source for standing water,” it was stated in the release.

“When out during dusk and dawn hours, use mosquito repellent or wear proper clothing to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. An increase in the mosquito population puts all residents and businesses at risk.”

Information on Aedes Aegypti mosquito breeding sites can be obtained by calling tel. 542-2078 or 542-3003, visiting the Collective Prevention Services Facebook page or e-mailing

surveillance@sintmaartengov.org .

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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