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Aug 17, 2009

Ministry of Health fights dengue

Story PictureIn addition to conditions at the regional hospitals and the H1N1 flu, Dr. Pitts as Director of Health Services also has another health problem to attend to. Break bone Fever or Dengue is a problem that is endemic to Belize. Whenever it rains, the water that settles becomes a potential breeding ground for the Aedes Egypti mosquito. July was an alarming month for residents of Cayo, which experienced more than half of the country’s dengue cases for this year. Several measures have taken place including getting technical assistance and cooperation from Mexico. However, as long as it rains the cases may keep coming. Dr. Pitts says despite that on-going challenge the ministry is putting up a good fight.

Dr. Michael Pitts, Director of Health Services
“I think the number of cases began to decrease but it keeps changing. We have made an effort with spraying, but the current weather condition doesn’t help at all. But we are monitoring the cases. I believe we had a peak of about two hundred and fifty clinical cases about two weeks ago but the numbers have been decreasing. But with this rainy weather around it is ripe for breeding of the mosquito so we have to continue to monitor the situation. Countrywide we have made efforts to do spraying and that should mitigate along with the assistance from the population to help tidy up around their house and do the other necessary public health things. We have put out some PSA’s on the radio and the TV in that regard so people can get messages and then of course they can continue to use the hotline at the Ministry of Health to get further information. The same hotline that we have for the H1N1, we try to use it so it stays consistent.”

Jose Sanchez
“Have there been any severe cases or deaths?”

Dr. Michael Pitts
“There were some situations where they attributes some deaths to dengue and it would have been in relation to dengue hemorrhagic. But they didn’t really confirm those cases. I know there were a couple in the private sector and then there were serious cases in the public sector but there no deaths, but at least one death was attributed to hemorrhagic dengue but it didn’t pan out.”

The Ministry of Health’s hotline for dengue and H1N1 is 629 -5604.

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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