The fight against dengue fever is not over. With the island now in the rainy season, mosquito breeding continues to pose a threat although the index in St James is falling.
Chief Public Health Inspector, Sherika Lewis, says for the month of August, approximately 14,000 premises had been inspected covering 151 communities “1,600 of which were positive for mosquito breeding,” resulting in an aedes index of 11.5 percent. In June, the index was above 15 and just over 13 for July.
And, according to Medical Officer of Health (MOH), Dr Francine Phillips Kelly, “(we) have not seen the numbers that we would have noted between last year January coming into this year.”
Some 34 of the inspected communities were fogged for mosquito control and while not having the desired complement of vector control workers, the eradication programme continues apace with fogging now being carried out seven days a week.
Even though the Ministry of Health has declared the dengue epidemic over, “we still maintain a vigilance and we’re still in our communities educating and maintaining the aedes indices at a lower level because the lower the index, then the lower the possibility of the disease spreading and hence the lower the risk to life,” said Dr Phillips Kelly.
SEARCH AND DESTROY
And, Ms Lewis has underscored this appeal: “The country is still in the rainy season and this can contribute to an increase in mosquito breeding in communities so the health department is advising community members to ensure that they search and destroy mosquito breeding sites at least once per week.”
For its part, the health department will also be conducting mosquito control programmes seven days per week in a bid to ensure that an aedes index of ten percent or less is attained and maintained.
Meanwhile, with the focus now on the corona-virus, COVID-19, the Medical Officer reported that “in the parish we have been seeing increases in cases. Over the last two weeks, our numbers have jumped exceedingly for this parish both in respect of persons who are diagnosed and, unfortunately, we have lost some lives in the last two weeks.”