Due to increased rainfall brought on by Tropical Storm Philippe’s recent passage, the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis is now at increased risk of mosquito-borne illnesses, especially Dengue, Zika, and Chikungunya.
The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has noted that reports of dengue outbreaks have surfaced in three of its member states, signalling a rise in cases that have been confirmed in labs across the region.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is common in the Federation and primarily responsible for the virus’s transmission, is of particular concern. To reduce the risk of dengue and other illnesses spread by mosquitoes, the Ministry of Health emphasises the urgent need to increase mosquito surveillance efforts through its Environmental Health Departments. Three locally confirmed Dengue cases have been reported in the last week.
Dengue is a viral infection that affects people of all ages and frequently presents as flu-like symptoms. Patients typically experience a high fever, headaches, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, and skin rashes four to ten days after being bitten by a mosquito. Intense abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, and mucosal bleeding are symptoms of severe Dengue cases, and these conditions demand immediate medical attention at the closest clinic or hospital.
The best way to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and the diseases they spread is to avoid getting bitten. To stop the spread of Dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases, the Ministry of Health supports the following ten proactive measures:
- Apply personal repellents on both skin and clothing for comprehensive protection.
- Employ bed nets if adult mosquitoes are prevalent in the area.
- Wear protective clothing like long pants and long-sleeved tops.
- Safeguard homes by installing screens on doors and windows.
- Dispose of bottles, cans, and water-holding containers in approved refuse bins with secure covers, fortifying homes, schools, and offices against mosquito breeding grounds.
- Maintain well-trimmed lawns, grass, and vegetation to minimize potential mosquito breeding sites.
- Change and replenish water in vases daily to deter mosquito breeding.
- Regularly change and replenish pet and animal drinking troughs.
- Store both used and new tires in a dry location to avoid water accumulation.
- Report any stagnant bodies of water promptly to the local Environmental Health Department.
The Ministry of Health advises people to get immediate medical attention at the closest medical facility if they experience symptoms like a fever, joint pain, eye pain, or a rash.