Commissioner Buncamper appeals to other communities to follow Sucker Garden example

 Commissioner Buncamper appeals to other communities to follow Sucker Garden example in getting rid of mosquito breeding habitats

Commissioner of Public Health Maria Buncamper-Molanus is appealing to the St. Maarten community to take the example set by the Sucker Garden community who will be coming out on Saturday morning to clean-up their neighborhood of debris and overgrown vegetation which are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoâ??s.

Sector Health Care Affairs (SHCA) Dengue Action Response Team (DART) announced this week of a dengue fever outbreak and that a 54-year old man had died from Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF), and has called on the St. Maarten community to take action to prevent mosquito breeding.

"I commend the Sucker Garden initiative as it is a necessity. I call on the Sucker Garden residents to come out and join their neighbors in this effort.

"This is the type of response that we are looking for in order to fight dengue fever. The multi disciplinary teams that have come together under the umbrella of the DART Team cannot do it alone. Every household has to take action now. We have an outbreak of dengue fever and you need to act now before you or a family member becomes ill," Commissioner of Public Health Maria Buncamper-Molanus told the Government Information Service (GIS) on Friday.

All neighborhoods need to mobilize in order to prevent the further increase in the number of dengue cases. No district is immune as statistical information show that dengue fever is affecting all districts on the island.

Every household has to take urgent measures to limit the breeding ground for mosquitos.

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Residents and Community Councils who are planning a general clean-up should also contact the Public Works Department beforehand in order to coordinate the removal of debris even if it is removed by volunteers. The idea is not to create additional debris piles which could become breeding grounds for mosquitos.

Symptoms of dengue fever are: sudden onset of high fever; severe headache (mostly in the forehead); pain behind the eyes which worsens with eye movement; body aches and joint pains; nausea or vomiting; rash in some cases; an unpleasant metallic taste in the mouth, and loss of appetite.

If you have symptoms of dengue fever, you should consult your general physician.

In the meantime there are a number of measures that can be taken by the public according to the Department of Hygiene & Veterinary Affairs and the Public Works Department. All residents and contractors of building sites are advised to take immediate measures to prevent mosquito breeding:

Debris, old tires and standing water in yards are the main source and breeding ground for mosquitoes bringing about an increased risk of mosquito-borne diseases.

Residents are therefore strongly advised to take immediate action making sure there is no standing water in their yards and roof spouts; and disposing responsibly old tires, empty drums, buckets, jars, birdbaths, boats, plant containers, paint cans and other items that can collect water around their homes and businesses. Where stagnant water exists, one can use small amounts of kerosene, just to cover the surface as a measure to prevent mosquito breeding.

In the case of where containers are used for storing water, residents should keep these covered. Inlets and outlets of cisterns must be covered with a mosquito net or cloth to prevent mosquitos from breeding in the water.

Anyone requiring additional information concerning measures to prevent mosquito breeding or to report areas of standing water, overgrown vegetation etc should immediately call the Hygiene Department at 542-2079.