Photo: VOA. Mosquitos cause several dangerous diseases such as zika, dengue and yellow fever, not to mention heartworm in dogs.

CASTRIES, St. Lucia–November 5th,2020–As of October 24, Saint Lucia recorded 888 confirmed and 365 suspected dengue fever cases. To date, Saint Lucia has only recorded three confirmed dengue-related deaths this year.

The age range for reported cases was from 3 weeks to 94 years old. The 5 -14 years age group accounted for 35 percent of all cases, followed by the 15 – 24 years age group and the 25 – 49 years age group with 21 percent of the cases for each group. 215 of the confirmed Dengue cases were hospitalized.

All health regions continue to be affected by the occurrence of dengue. However, the highest number of cases confirmed continues to be in the northern part of the island. Castries accounted for 28 percent of the cases, Gros-Islet 19 percent and Babonneau 8 percent of cases. Vieux Fort accounted for 11 percent, while Micoud and Dennery each accounted for 8 percent of cases.

Between October 11 and October 24, 2020, new cases were confirmed in the Micoud and Vieux-Fort districts. To date, two strains of dengue viruses, DENV3 and DENV2 have been identified as being in circulation in Saint Lucia during this outbreak. In its mild form, Dengue Fever may present with fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains and a red itchy rash.

There are several warning signs that residents at risk need to be aware of.

These include: – Intense and continuous abdominal pain – Persistent vomiting (3 or more episodes in an hour) – Bleeding from the gums or nose, in the urine or in vomit, or dark colored stool. – Restlessness or drowsiness – Enlarged liver.

Persons who think they have any of these symptoms should visit their health care provider.

The public is reminded that Dengue Fever can be controlled by reducing or eliminating exposure to mosquito bites. This can be achieved by eliminating mosquito breeding sites in and around our homes by discarding all open containers with stagnant water on a regular basis, and by using insect repellent, which may be applied directly to the skin, clothing or to mosquito nets.  Wearing long sleeved shorts and long pants and shoes and socks that cover the feet and ankles may also help, though uncomfortable in hot and humid condition.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness has said that it will continue to provide the public with updates on the dengue situation in Saint Lucia.