The Ministry of Health and Wellness is monitoring cases of dengue fever in Barbados in light of outbreaks in other regional countries.
Caribbean countries which have reported outbreaks this year include St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and several islands in the French Caribbean, including Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana.
Senior Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Leslie Rollock, revealed that while there has been an increase of suspected and confirmed cases in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period in 2018 and 2019, the numbers had not risen “beyond what is expected”.
From January to September, there were 174 suspected or probable cases reported to the Ministry, with six laboratory confirmations. No deaths have been reported. These cases were type 3 dengue virus, a strain that has been circulating in Barbados since 2016, the year of the last outbreak here.
This case load compares to 66 suspected and probable cases for the same period in 2018 and no confirmations; and 64 suspected and probable cases last year, again with no confirmed cases.
Dr. Rollock cautioned householders and property owners to step up surveillance for the mosquito vector in and around their premises.
“My advice is to check premises weekly for possible breeding sites. Cover or dispose of water containers such as buckets, plastic containers and drums. Containers should also be scrubbed to remove eggs that may be attached to the inside,” the public health doctor shared.
Dengue fever is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Common symptoms include fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, and a red itchy rash.
For further information on how to handle vector control issues, persons are advised to call the Environmental Health Department at the polyclinic closest to their homes or businesses.