Ministry of Health orders close watch following regional dengue outbreak

Aedes Aegypti mosquito

The Ministry of Health has mandated the Health Promotions Department and Vector Control Officers nationwide to scale up intervention aimed at preventing an upsurge in the spread of dengue fever in Grenada.

Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr George Mitchell gave the directive in the wake of an outbreak of dengue fever in the region including Jamaica, where the disease has already claimed lives.

Mitchell told health promotions and vector control managers that given the regional situation and the fact that there is likely to be an increase in the mosquito population around this time of year, the ministry is not taking any chances and will not sit complacently.

“We are all keeping a close eye on the development of the dengue fever situation in the region, (Jamaica) and so in order to prevent and control this upsurge in a timely manner, we are taking early and decisive action now,” he explained.

The CMO instructed that specific and targeted intervention in areas where there is a high presence of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito be given urgent priority.

He also requested that public awareness and education activities be stepped up and should include heightened vector control activities aimed at preventing any possible outbreak on the island around this time.

The principal symptoms of dengue are:

  • High fever and at least 2 of the following:
    • Severe headache
    • Severe eye pain (behind eyes)
    • Joint pain
    • Muscle and/or bone pain
    • Rash
    • Mild bleeding manifestation (eg nose or gum bleeding)
    • Low white cell count

Generally, younger children and those with their first dengue infection have a milder illness than older children and adults. Watch for warning signs as temperature declines 3 to 7 days after symptoms begin.

Some general prevention tips:

  • Preventing dengue is as simple as preventing mosquito bites. Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times in mosquito-infested areas.
  • Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants.
  • Use registered mosquito repellents when outdoors or especially at times of high mosquito activity like dawn and dusk.
  • Consider using mosquito netting if you will be in mosquito-infested areas.
  • Ensure windows and doors’ screens are closed to avoid allowing mosquitoes into in enclosed spaces.
  • Avoid areas with standing water. (Search for and destroy all mosquito-breeding areas, get rid of all unwanted and non-essential water-holding containers in and around your home, trim high vegetation, check for leaks and blocked drains).
  • Prevent access of mosquitoes to an infected person with a fever.
  • Remember that personal protection and the environmental management of mosquitoes are important in preventing illness.

GIS

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