Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral illness.

The number of persons who have died as a result of the current outbreak of dengue in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been confirmed as four, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment said on Monday.

The ministry had last Tuesday confirmed two deaths, one day after saying that the mosquito-borne viral illness was suspected in four deaths.

“The Surveillance Committee of the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment, following extensive investigations, can now confirm that four persons have died from severe dengue fever during this current outbreak,” the ministry said on Monday.

“As previously indicated, one adult female and one 9- year-old male who died were confirmed on laboratory diagnosis to have had dengue fever. A 4-year-old male who died before the dengue test could be completed, has now been confirmed to have had dengue fever from a sample taken after his death. An elderly male, who died on Friday, September 25 at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, has also been confirmed to have had dengue fever,” the press statement said.

The ministry said 432 laboratory-confirmed cases of dengue fever have now been recorded in St. Vincent and the Grenadines since the outbreak was first noted in June/July.

“The mosquito borne disease continues to affect all health districts, but most cases have been reported as occurring in persons who live in the Kingstown, Georgetown and Pembroke Health Districts. Persons in the 0-15 year age group account for the majority of cases,” the ministry said.

It said that the Hospital Services Programme and the Community Health Services Programme continue to provide emergency care to the many persons who present with symptoms of dengue fever.

“The Accident and Emergency Department of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital is being supported by the Kingstown District Clinic which has extended their hours of operation to 7 p.m.

“All hospitals in the public health system have reported increased occupancy, and the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital has increased the number of beds to accommodate the increased demand for admitted care. This expansion in bed capacity has been sufficient to date so that the Argyle Isolation Facility has not been used.”

The ministry said that health care providers, using a multidisciplinary approach and in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization and the Caribbean Public Health Agency, are constantly updating the care delivered to ensure the best clinical outcomes for all patients with dengue fever.

“The Pharmaceutical Services Programme, working with consultant physicians, is currently considering the use of papaya leaf tea and α-interferon to determine their use to safely augment care for patients with moderate and severe dengue fever.

“The Vector Control Unit of the Environmental Health Department of the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment will further ramp up the Integrated Vector Control (IVC) Strategy to reduce the mosquito populations through the deployment of district teams focused on source reduction, including fogging.

“Health promotion activities, also part of the IVC Strategy, will continue with the engagement of communities, churches and other non-governmental organizations.”

The ministry said that the fight against dengue fever is a shared responsibility.

The public is therefore urged to continue to work with the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment to reduce the risk of persons being infected with Dengue Fever by reducing their exposure to the mosquito which causes dengue by:

1. Reducing the breeding of the mosquito by discarding improperly stored water or covering properly collected water.

2. Reducing rubbish and overgrown bush.

3. Wearing light coloured clothes with long pants and long sleeves.

4. Using insect repellents and mosquito nets to prevent mosquito bites. These actions are important to prevent further spread both to those who have not had dengue fever, and also from those with dengue fever.

5. Opening homes to allow increased effectiveness of fogging by the Vector Control Unit.

Symptoms of dengue fever include fever, headache with pain behind the eyes, a rash, abdominal pain, vomiting and bleeding. Home treatments for dengue fever should focus on reducing the fever by using cool not cold baths, acetaminophen (paracetamol) not ibuprofen and maintaining hydration by drinking lots of fluids such as coconut water. Persons with symptoms of dengue fever are asked to seek medical care early to avoid the possible complications of delayed care.

2 replies on “Four dengue deaths confirmed in St. Vincent”

  1. The drains in Kingstown need to be closely monitored. I remember waiting for a van close to the hardware store on Bay Street and was bitten by a mosquito. All drains should be covered and built in a way to allow water to flow freely to the sea. I have suffered considerably from mosquito bites whenever I visit SVG. I came back to Canada and had to be taken to the hospital twice. The first was dengue and then some years later it was chikungunya.
    During my last visit I had two fan in my bedroom to keep those suckers off. My light bill was huge because I had those fans blowing day and night.

    I hope more attention will be placed on the drains and rivers in every community. Next is garbage that should be collected twice weekly and not once. This will encourage people to get rid of garbage around their homes. In my youthful days in Layou, garbage was collected and gutters were cleaned daily. This has to be revived to save people’s lives and keep the environment clean. Here again is where the town/village councils can play a part. These people can be volunteers and don’t have to be paid for their service to their community. Just let the people select the names of folks they can trust from the communities,. One doesn’t have to be an Albert Einstein to come up with good ideas.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly. In my youth, under the PPP, the sanitary Inspectors were quite active, even throughout the countryside–South Central Windward. The rivers were clean–devoid of weeds and sediment build-up. Today, I am ashamed about the conditions of our rivers.

    Now, garbage control in Kingstown is a mess. But so too is garbage build-up in the villages. This is perhaps because in the past Vincentians did not consume so much commercially packaged products, bottles and cans were recycled–cans used to be converted into cups by adding handles (remember the tinkers), and bottles were reused to carry liquids such as milk and oils. We sold milk by the pint or the bottle and all of those bottles came from recycled sources.

    So, have we traveled backwards or forward? Perhaps we should rethink our educational system. I learned health sciences and agronomy in primary school and continued with health science in secondary school. That education continues to serve me well today.

    Vinci Vin

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