Keeping dengue at bay

Fred Wesley | Tuesday, November 14, 2017
THE revelation that there was a rise in cases of dengue fever when compared with last year will no doubt raise some concern.
Fred Wesley
Fred Wesley

Acting National Adviser on Communicable Diseases Dr Aalisha Sahukhan said that of the 2699 cases of dengue fever, the highest numbers were recorded in the Western and Central divisions. The number is in comparison with 889 in 2016.

Dr Sahukhan said there were nine deaths recorded because of dengue fever and the majority were of people above the age of 55 years.

The World Health Organization says that for dengue fever if you have access to good medical care, she said yesterday, the number of deaths in an outbreak should be below one per cent. The current rate, she said, with nine confirmed cases is about 0.3 per cent.

We should consider this fair warning and work together to eliminate the mosquitoes and get rid of their breeding grounds.

Year 2014 was an example of what an outbreak of the disease can do to our nation.

As thousands of people rushed to hospitals around the country, figures continued to rise.

The alarming rate at which the sick flocked to hospitals attracted attention.

It prompted the then-Commissioner Western Joeli Cawaki to call a press conference in March that year, where he urged the public to take seriously the threat it posed on lives.

Mr Cawaki said, "the threat of dengue is real."

Dengue fever, a vector-borne viral infection transmitted by Aedes mosquitos, isn't something we should take lightly. The WHO estimates that between 50 and 100 million people are infected annually around the world. People suffering from the infection will have a number of symptoms including high fever, severe joint pain, rashes, vomiting and mild bleeding from the mouth and nose. Symptoms last between five to seven days. While there is no vaccine for it, most people quickly recover with proper medical care.

Prevention is critical though and must involve everyone, from the State to the average man and woman on the street. Dengue fever can be fatal.

We need to start cleaning our compounds.

Let's empty containers, get rid of old tyres, drums and make sure pot plants are not carrying stagnant water.

Let's keep mosquito repellents handy and have our compounds clean and tidy.

We must be aware of the little things we can do to contribute to the greater good of the nation.

We hope the authorities will take action on neighbours who are not complying with the need to keep their compounds clean and get rid of all mosquito breeding places.

Let us be vigilant, and considerate. Let us be aware.

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