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Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 12, 2019 (SKNIS): With the outbreak of dengue fever in neighbouring islands, particularly Jamaica, officials from the Ministry of Health have increased efforts to educate residents of St. Kitts and Nevis on ways to protect against the transmission of the virus which is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Dr. Hazel Laws, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), spoke about the topic on Wednesday (10th April) edition of “Working for You”. She pointed out several precautionary methods.

“Look at plastic containers, the bags in your house and around your home. Look at your flower pots, the saucers in which you keep the pots because the water sometimes settle and that’s a source of a habitat for the larvae of the Aedes aegypti mosquito,” said the chief medical officer. “Some persons have man-made water fountains in their yard. You need to make sure it is frequently cleaned so that you can rid yourself of the larvae of the mosquito. Your garbage receptacles need to be properly kept because sometimes water from the rain settles and it is also a breeding site for the mosquitoes,” she added.

She further stated that tyres in and around the home, large buckets and basins used for storing water, should be properly sealed or emptied occasionally as a measure to prevent mosquitoes from making them breeding ground.

The CMO touched briefly on the vector control officers who visit communities to educate persons on eliminating sources or items that may hold water. She said that data collected revealed increased indices in districts two, three, five and eight, which include Central and West Basseterre and the Sandy Point area.

“The vector control officers go into the communities and the aim is source reduction, improving the immediate environment of the individuals in these communities of the containers where the larvae of the mosquitoes grow,” she stated.

Dengue fever is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes aegypti mosquito infected with the dengue virus. The mosquito becomes infected when it bites a person with dengue virus in their blood. It can’t be spread directly from one person to another person.

Information from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website states that symptoms of dengue include high fever, severe headache, severe pain behind the eyes, joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rash and mild bleeding involving the nose or gums, and easy bruising. Severe infections can result in hemorrhage, shock, and death.

The site further added that although there is no vaccine to prevent dengue, timely medical care can greatly reduce the possibility of death. People who believe they have dengue should immediately contact a health care professional. Early identification may be very helpful in determining the best course of treatment.

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