Ministry of Health represented at Workshop on Integrated Management Strategy for Dengue Prevention

A four member delegation from the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour and the St. Maarten Laboratory Services (SLS), attended early August a workshop sponsored by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) about an Integrated Management Strategy for Dengue Prevention and Control.


"By working together and sharing information we can continue to move public health in the right direction and improve health care as well as create public health policies in the interests of Sint. Maarten," Minister of Public Health, Social Development & Labour Hon. Cornelius De Weever said on Monday.

Dengue fever is currently the most important vector-borne viral disease affecting people, in terms of both morbidity and mortality. In the last 10-years, due to the growing permeability of the transitional borders, diseases that once were thought to be controlled have recurred.

The highest temperatures, modifications of the surface of the earth, changes in precipitations patterns, are behind the reemergence in Latin America and the Caribbean of epidemics that were under control.

Climate change causes extreme temperatures and precipitation, contributing to the proliferation of vector-borne diseases as malaria, dengue, yellow fever, and bubonic plague. Also, the introduction of the new viruses in the Americas region, as Chikungunya, is expected.

The Regional Dengue Programme of PAHO/World Health Organization (WHO) focuses public policies for dengue prevention and control towards multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary integration.

The follow-up to this PAHO workshop in Curacao will be a meeting of the country’s Dengue Action Response Team (DART) to review the draft integrated plan.

DART was voluntarily inacted in 2008 to plan strategies to provide the community with information on dengue and its evolvement. DART presently consist Department of Communications, Collective Prevention Services, Tourist Bureau, St. Maarten Laboratory Services, and the Department of Infrastructure Management.

The DART team will also look at expanding its member which will be used to fulfill one of the criteria for integrated vector management to a multi-sector team that would review, plan and prepare to manage any vector development or occurrence.

The Caribbean sub-region reported 4.6 per cent or approximately 450,000 of the cases of dengue in the Americas between 2001-2012, including close to 7500 cases of severe dengue and 667 deaths. All four serotypes circulate in the Caribbean, but DENV-1, 2 and 4 predominate. In 2012, the Caribbean reported 5,532 dengue cases with 196 severe dengue cases and six deaths.
2.5 billion people worldwide are at risk to dengue fever. There are approximately 500,000 cases of DHF (Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever) annually and between 30,000 and 50,000 people die annually worldwide from dengue shock syndrome.

Dengue is transmitted by an infected female mosquito that feeds mainly during the day. The mosquito that carries the dengue virus – Aedes aegypti – lives near human habitations. The mosquito lays eggs and produces larvae in artificial containers that collect water.

The attendees to the meeting came from Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius, Costa Rica, Mexico, Trinidad, United States, and Venezuela.