Dominica is on the alert for an outbreak of dengue fever.
According to the Ministry of Health, dengue fever is the most significant vector borne disease affecting the Caribbean region, and advises of an increased public health threat to Dominica “especially now that the French Territories of Martinique and Guadeloupe are faced with an increase in the incidence of Dengue Fever.”
“Dominica is presently experiencing increased rainfall at this time. Unfortunately, Aedes Aegypti Mosquito population on the island is increasing to a level that elevates the risk of vector borne diseases. It is against this background that the Ministry wishes to alert the entire population of the nature and scope of the threat.” states a release from the ministry of health.
According to the release, issued jointly by the Chief Medical officer and Chief Environmental Health Officer, the most recent data show that Castle Bruce, La Plaine, Roseau South, Portsmouth and Roseau North District contained indices which are above the recommended World Health Organization (WHO )standard for the prevention of dengue transmission.
The Environmental Health Department is reminding the public of certain environmental and sanitary conditions which create excellent breeding sites for mosquitoes, including poor water storage at homes and public places, improper disposal of used tires and improper use of water in domestic flower pots.
The presence of garbage containers collecting water in private and public places, crisis collection of solid waste in many communities
and overgrown vegetation on vacant lots, are also named as factors which contribute to mosquito breeding.
The Ministry of Health says it is taking action to control mosquito breeding. “The Ministry of Health has developed an Integrated Management Strategy and Action Plan and is launching a public campaign to prevent and control problems related to mosquitoes. In addition to increasing the number of inspection activities, a series of health education activities are organized to encourage and promote community participation in mosquito prevention and control work.”, the release states.
Communities around Dominica are being asked to play their part in controlling the spread of the mosquito population and preventing an outbreak of dengue fever by practicing safe storage of rain water in containers that are fully covered, advocating for the proper disposal of old and used containers in designated areas and campaigning for appropriate disposal of used tires in designated areas.
The public is also being asked to monitor the water quality in domestic flower pots, collaborate with Environmental Health Department, National Pest and Termite Control and Village Councils, for the removal of derelict vehicles to the Sanitary Landfill.
Dominica News Online (DNO), reported on an outbreak of the disease in Dominica in 2011 in which there were at least 15 confirmed cases. The majority of cases were within the Roseau Health District which includes the Roseau South, Roseau Valley, Roseau North, and Roseau Central up to the Mahaut area.
However, the ministry of health is reassuring Dominicans that there is no outbreak of Dengue Fever in Dominica at this time. “The spread of Dengue Fever in Dominica is a real possibility. However, we are pleased to inform that there is no outbreak of Dengue Fever at this time. Therefore, to prevent an outbreak, it is critical that we work with all the stakeholders such as The National Public Health Surveillance and Response Team of the Ministry of Health, Dominica Solid Waste Management Corporation, Local Government, National Pest and Termite Control and the General Public.”