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CITIZENS URGED TO DO THEIR PART IN MITIGATING THE SPREAD OF VECTOR-BORNE DISEASES LIKE DENGUE

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BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, November 7, 2023 (SKNIS) – With about twenty-two (22) laboratory-confirmed cases of dengue fever in the Federation, Prime Minister and Minister of Health, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, is urging citizens and residents to join the Ministry of Health in its quest to mitigate the spread of dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases.

In October, the Ministry of Health issued an advisory on vector-borne diseases, including dengue, associated with an increase in rainfall. The ministry noted then that the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) had reported an upsurge in laboratory-confirmed cases of dengue in the region, with outbreaks reported in three CARPHA member states.

As such, the Ministry of Health in St. Kitts and Nevis has ramped up its awareness campaign and has taken action to reduce the spread of the virus through measures such as coordinated fogging in communities.

“I want to thank the CMO [Chief Medical Officer] and the Ministry of Health. They have sat with the persons who are directly involved with the fogging, and the fogging schedule comes out. So, we have been able to limit the number of cases because we are very aggressive,” said Prime Minister Drew on Tuesday, November 7, during his Press Conference with Cabinet Ministers.

The honourable prime minister also used the platform to call on each citizen and resident of the country to get actively involved in preventing the spread of the mosquito-borne disease by eliminating possible breeding areas for mosquitoes.

He said, “Dengue is spread by a mosquito called the Aedes aegypti. That mosquito bites and when it bites it spreads the dengue virus, and therefore we want to eliminate any breeding grounds. So, if you have any stagnant water such as buckets with water or drums with water, either turn them over or bore holes in them, but stagnant water needs to be eliminated … so that these mosquitos can’t breed.”

The Ministry of Health also advises residents to protect themselves by using personal repellents on skin and clothes, use bed nets if adult mosquitoes are prevalent, wear protective clothing like long pants and long-sleeved tops and protect their homes by using screens for doors and windows.

Dengue is a flu-like illness that affects infants, young children and adults. Symptoms usually begin four to ten days after being bitten by a dengue-infected mosquito. The symptoms include high fever, headaches, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains and skin rash. The illness can evolve into severe Dengue, characterized by intense and continuous abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, and mucosal bleeding. Affected persons should access medical care at the nearest health center or hospital if these occur.

PRIME MINISTER HON. DR. TERRANCE DREW

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