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Jul 1, 2009

Health officials control spread of dengue

Story PictureThe swine flu scare recently had many Belizeans inattentive to illnesses that are literally brewing in our back yards. But there are several reports in different parts of Belize City that Break-bone fever or Dengue has been affecting some residents. News Five’s Jose Sanchez visited the Central Health Lab today which confirmed the disease is still on the prowl.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting
Rains do not always mean hurricane, but it definitely means the buzzing of mosquitoes, and that may lead to dengue. Aisha Andrewin, Epidemiologist at the Central Health Region Laboratory says that there are currently cases of people afflicted with dengue.

Aisha Andrewin, Epidemiologist, Central Health Region
“We’ve had so far since the year began fewer than thirty-five cases for the year. Eleven of those in June and the other twenty-four cases have been spread out from January to May. The thing about dengue is its what we call an endemic disease meaning that you will have cases from time to time because the vector—the mosquito that transmits the virus that causes dengue is in the environment of Belize. What’s more so, every time you have the right conditions, you’re talking about breeding site; small pockets of water, fresh water, stagnant water in which the mosquito can breed, you will have the possibility of having the cases. What we observed in June, which is in keeping in dengue, which is constant with the recent rains, naturally once you have rain you have more likely that you have the breeding sites available for the mosquito to breed. Dengue is caused by a virus, as I mentioned. You tend to have severe headache, pain behind the eyes and pain behind the joints and muscles. You may or may not have, especially in the onset of the illness, vomiting, diarrhoea and so on. The thing about the classical dengue is the pain. It’s called break bone fever because it is so painful.”

Aside from medical treatment, health authorities are also spraying a chemical to kill adult mosquitoes that carry the virus.

Stephen Rivers, Vector Control Program
“The spraying cycle starts when the rainy season starts. The rainy season we have mosquitoes because the mosquitoes need water to hatch their eggs. So we do wavy spraying and this is a knock down spray. We use malathion ninety-six percent, which is a knock down spray. We like to spray in the district but we don’t have enough machines to do the rural areas so we mostly do Belize City.”

Prevention is the key to control the spread of dengue. Six environmental assistants do door to door education and yard inspections.

Janet Cunningham, Environmental Asst, Vector Control Program
“We check containers at home for instance like the vats, drums, containers in general where there will be a possibility for the aedes aegypti mosquitoes to breed in and so. What we do at the center we treat it with a bit of the temephos which is made of ninety-nine percent sand granules and one percent of the temephos.”

Jose Sanchez
“What do you tell them when you knock on doors?”

Janet Cunningham
“We tell them about the purpose of our visit and we come to do the inspection of premises to get rid of all containers. That is one of the way of preventing dengue mosquitoes.”

Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

Dr. Andrewin says that there isn’t an outbreak and that the Central Health Region Lab carefully monitors all reported cases.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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