Press Release: With the rapid onset of the rainy season, the Ministry of Health and Wellness continues to encourage individuals to maintain health and safety measures to prevent the local transmission of dengue fever.
Dengue fever is one of the most common vector-borne viral illnesses affecting humans, transmitted through the bite of the female Aedes aegypti mosquito, and to a lesser extent the Aedes albopictus.
Four serotypes of dengue exist. However, persons receive lifelong immunity against a serotype once infected with it. Only serotypes two and three have been recorded to date in Saint Lucia, with the majority of the cases being children.
Chief Environmental Health Officer in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Parker Ragnanan highlighted intervention measures being undertaken by the Environmental Health Division including lava siding and fogging.
Householders and property owners are encouraged to inspect their households at least twice a week in an effort to contain the Aedes aegypti mosquito population. Persons are also advised to avoid the indiscriminate dumping of garbage, which also serves as breeding ground for the mosquito.
Ragnanan said it is necessary for the community to work together to prevent local transmission of dengue fever.
“Very often, what we find is one household doing all that it can by taking preventative measures, but two households away, nobody cares. Mosquitoes have a very long flight range, they can travel up to a mile depending on the wind direction and wind speed, so that means to establish a safe zone preventative measures need to be taken within a mile-wide perimeter of one’s household.”
Dengue viral disease has an incubation period of four to 10 days after the bite from an infected mosquito. Persons with mild dengue may present with fever, accompanied by rash, nausea/vomiting, pain behind the eye, muscle and joint pain. In its more severe form, persons may progress to bleeding from the gums or nose, vomiting blood and passing blood in the stool.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness urges persons who may be experiencing signs and symptoms to seek care at their nearest Wellness Centre.