Combating dengue fever
Thursday, January 17, 2019
by Fernelle Neptune, Ministry of Health

The Department of Health and Wellness has ramped up dengue fever preventative measures to combat the spread of the disease on the island.

Additionally, the public is encouraged to work with the department to reduce mosquito breeding sites.

Acting National Epidemiologist, Dr. Michelle Francois, said although dengue fever is endemic to Saint Lucia, it is necessary that measures are put in place to reduce the incidences of contracting the virus.

“At the Ministry of Health, we monitor the trends of dengue on a weekly basis. We receive reports from our syndromic reporting. We receive reports from all health care facilities as well as lab reports to confirm the diagnosis of dengue fever in Saint Lucia,” Dr. Francois said. “For the year 2018, we did notice a slight increase in the number of cases, mainly in the latter months which do coincide with what we traditionally see. However, we remain vigilant and we continue to work on our vector control strategies for 2019.”

Acting Chief Environmental Health Officer, Parker Ragnanan, said the Division of Environmental Health continues to work to fight the spread of dengue by reducing mosquito breeding sites and the adult mosquito population.

“We have stepped up our surveillance activity in terms of the house to house visitation, and looking at breeding sites for the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, because the Aedes Aegypti mosquito is the main culprit in the transmission of dengue fever. We have also increased the treatment for the larvae,” Mr. Ragnanan explained. “It is the intention of the division from early February to look at our adult mosquito population and, as part of that effort, we are going to intensify the fogging operations throughout the island because fogging rapidly decreases the adult population of the mosquitos.”

Mr. Ragnanan also indicated that the Division of Environmental Health will strengthen community and educational programmes in order to sensitize Saint Lucians about eliminating mosquito breeding sites.