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IMPROVEMENT IN MOSQUITO BORN DISEASE STATUS IN SAINT LUCIA

Mosquito borne diseases continue to be a concern for tropical areas such as St. Lucia.

Dengue fever is endemic in the country and a mild increase in cases is experienced each year coinciding with the rainy season. There are also occasional cases of Chikungunya since it was introduced in 2014. However, in the case of Zika virus disease, the country’s last case was diagnosed greater than 1 year ago, in spite of continuous surveillance and testing for this disease.

Given that Zika virus disease has not been detected in over a year in many Caribbean countries, the Caribbean Public Health Agency has indicated that Zika virus transmission has been interrupted in the Caribbean and that risk of transmission is very low. (See video from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) on the current Zika virus situation, August 13, 2018 https://youtu.be/vZmHd_C660s )

The Department of Health and Wellness has implemented many strategies to reduce the impact of Vector Borne Diseases including but not limited to:

– Environmental and chemical measures
– National mobilisation and source reduction campaigns
– Risk Communication and Health Promotion
– Surveillance systems to facilitate early detection of cases and outbreaks

– Enhanced capacity to diagnose and manage vector borne diseases at Primary and Public Health Institutions.

Decreasing breeding sites of mosquitoes should be a priority for everyone.

To prevent mosquito borne diseases:

– Get rid of mosquito breeding sites in and around the home, schools, business places and communities:
– Use sand instead of water in flower vases
– Cover all drums and water receptacles
– Keep surroundings free of plastics and containers which retain water
– Repair damaged guttering which harbor water

Mosquito bites can be lessened by:

– Wearing long sleeved clothing and pants
– Using insect repellant
– Using mosquito nets on windows and over beds
– Sparing use of insecticides can also be considered

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