Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David Johnson, has said that the ministry of health is taking the necessary actions to prevent an outbreak of dengue in Dominica.
This announcement comes in the wake of a regional alert issued by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) regarding an outbreak of the virus in the Caribbean region.
“We are aware that there is a dengue threat in the region. In fact, the ministry of health was officially notified of the dengue by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), World Health Organization (WHO) on the third of January to be precise.”
The dengue virus has so far affected the French islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique and Saint Martin. The number of cases in these islands has been increasing, says Dr. Johnson, and Dominicans are therefore, encouraged to be prepared.
In terms of precautionary measures, the ministry is encouraging the public to get rid of old drums, tires and other materials that can collect water, to stop the breeding of mosquitoes in their homes and community. People are also advised to avoid being bitten by the mosquito and ensure their safety by using insect repellent, wearing long clothing and sleeping under mosquito nets.
Dr. Johnson mentioned the four types of dengue virus and the three main forms of the disease. If bitten by a mosquito that carries the virus, it could range from type 1 to type 4. The mild form of the disease can be detected by the following symptoms: fever only, rash, headache, pain at the back of the eye, joint pain and vomiting.
Two other forms of the disease are considered severe and can be detected when a person has the dengue hemorrhagic fever or the dengue shock syndrome and according to Dr. Johnson, these two severe forms can result in death.
The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) said that health authorities are also attempting to prevent a dengue outbreak through public health intervention, heightening the alert in terms of what is happening to the general public, releasing public announcements and using social media. He said healthcare providers are also being made aware of the risk of a possible outbreak of dengue.
He stated that the goal is to get rid of the mosquitoes in order to prevent an outbreak in the country by minimizing the breeding sites. He emphasized that the ministry wishes to work together with the public to achieve this goal.
Dengue fever is a disease caused by mosquitoes and is generally spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. This mosquito is said to be endemic to the Caribbean region including Dominica.
He said Dominica has not had an outbreak for many years and the last outbreaks can be dated back to 2010 and 2013.