Let's join the fight

Fred Wesley | Thursday, January 4, 2018
THE confirmation by the Ministry of Health of a dengue fever outbreak in the Labasa Town area is cause for concern.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services confirmed the outbreak of dengue in the Macuata subdivision, mainly localised to the Labasa Town area in the past four weeks. Acting national advisor communicable disease Doctor Aalisha Sahukhan said they had started spraying mosquito breeding areas.

Fighting the spread of dengue fever can't be left only to the ministry to deal with though.

We realise they have the resources to provide vital services that are useful and important for our health, however, the onus is on us to aid the process.

We should take a proactive approach.

We must be vigilant.

As the ministry continues to work closely with stakeholders in the northern division, we all need to take note of this surge and show some concern.

Dengue fever knows no boundaries when it comes to people.

It does not differentiate between imaginary demarcation lines. It does not matter if there is a line along ethnicity, religion or gender.

The dengue carrying mosquitoes will ride through that. As the ministry admitted, it is not easy conducting weekly clean-ups of every household and workplace.

The challenge though is on us to show some concern and be a step ahead of the mosquitoes.

This week, the ministry stated that the Labasa Hospital received between 39 and 78 confirmed cases of dengue every week since November 20 last year. It said from the week November 20 to December 17, there had been 279 confirmed cases reported from Macuata, mostly from the Labasa Town area with a notable increase in the number of dengue fever cases. Dengue Fever is a vector-borne viral infection transmitted by Aedes mosquitos.

The World Health Organization estimates that between 50 and 100 million people are infected annually around the world.

Symptoms include 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. Dengue fever can be fatal, which is why prevention is important.

So let's cut the excuses, roll up our sleeves, and take some responsibility in keeping our compounds clean.

Look outside and empty containers, get rid of old tyres, drums and make sure pot-plants are not carrying stagnant water.

You will need to keep mosquito repellents handy.

It does not end there though. 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 mosquito breeding places. There are some inconsiderate neighbours around who need to be pulled up.

We should be vigilant, and considerate. Together we can fight dengue fever.

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