SHCA confirms 23 dengue fever cases in first three weeks of September

 SHCA confirms 23 dengue fever cases in first three weeks of September; Residents strongly advised to take urgent measures to prevent mosquito breeding

Sector Health Care Affairs (SHCA) Dengue Action Response Team (DART) confirmed on Thursday that there are 23 laboratory confirmed cases of dengue fever for the first three weeks of September.

The figures also include Dutch side registered residents who were tested at French side labs. The total number of cases for August was nine. On average two cases of dengue fever, confirmed by the Dutch side lab, were reported for this time of year.

The number of dengue fever cases for the month of September are not confined to one geographical area as was the case for the month of August where the majority of cases were in the residential area of St. Johns.

Residents are strongly advised to continue to take urgent preventative measures against mosquito breeding in order to stem any further increase in the number of dengue cases on the island.

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The DART team has scaled up its response actions based on the dramatic increase in the number of cases reported. The Hygiene Department inspectors will be carrying out on the spot checks and taking immediate vector control measures and residents are therefore requested to give their full cooperation.

The increase in the number of dengue cases has been attributed to a number of factors such as better reporting; the rainy season; observed increase in the number of areas with stagnant water; and overgrown vegetation. Various measures are being taken to mitigate the increase in the number of dengue cases; however, the communities support is essential.

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

Persons or businesses making use of the landfill in Philipsburg for the dumping of barrels, buckets or anything that can hold water should cut holes into the items to avoid the accumulation of water.

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