St Lucia issues dengue alert

By Caribbean Medical News staff
The Environmental Health Department in the Ministry of Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations has advised St. Lucians to take all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of dengue fever and vector borne diseases, some of which can be fatal.
This is according to the Department of Environmental Health as it reminds residents of the importance of protecting the population from dengue and vector-borne illnesses during the rainy season. Glenda Etienne-Cepal, Vector Control Program Manager says that there are several measures that can be taken to halt the spread of the disease which may be deadly.
Cepal says that apart from the usual protocol for prevention, St Lucians needed to be vigilant and inspect their properties for breeding areas. She suggested that all drums and buckets should be properly covered, soil instead of water should be used in vases and drains, gutter on roofs and any place where water can settle ought to be inspected. In 2014, the region suffered a huge public health blow with several cases of chikungunya and dengue some fatalities.
“The public should ensure that all water receptacles are properly covered to prevent breeding grounds for the Aedes aegypti mosquito that is known to be responsible for the spread of dengue and chikungunya. It is the public’s responsibility to ensure that any container that could become a potential breeding ground is covered; and when disposing of garbage, ensure that it is properly secured before disposal to prevent mosquitoes form laying their eggs. This is a cheaper and safer way [to prevent disease] instead of incurring the costs that come with treating the disease,” Mrs Cepal added.
“Mosquito populations thrive in the rainy season, so residents must ensure that they keep their surroundings clean and dispose of any containers, tires, and appliances that are likely to keep water,” he said, adding that the trends for this year have been normal, so far”, said Claudius Prospere, acting Chief Environmental Health Officer in the Department of Environmental Health said environmental sanitation is critical.

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