By Aabigayle McIntosh
Authorities responsible for public health in Antigua and Barbuda have confirmed 20 cases of Dengue Fever in the region.
However, Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Teri-Ann Joseph has reassured the public in a recent interview with state media that there is no cause for alarm.
Dr. Joseph explained that the increase in Dengue cases during the rainy season is a well-documented phenomenon that creates a conducive environment for the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is responsible for spreading the Dengue virus, to thrive.
Dr. Joseph stated that they have a trend of having between 10 and 20 cases of Dengue Fever from September to November and anything over 15 and under 20 is considered an alert stage; a pandemic is declared when the number of cases is over 20.
However, she mentioned that despite the circumstances, her team remains proactive. In fact, they have increased surveillance ahead of September in anticipation of the rise in cases.
The team’s proactive measures include more frequent home inspections, fogging exercises, a series of publications on how to eliminate the spread of mosquito breeding sites, as well as other mitigation efforts.
Dr. Joseph also mentioned that physicians are in the community centers and hospitals to increase the testing they would have done on people with symptoms.
The parish of St. Johns is the most affected community, and females account for 75 percent of the cases recorded thus far.
Dr. Joseph emphasized that they are taking all the necessary steps to avoid moving into the epidemic stage and that she does not want to be in the alert or alarm stage, which ranges between 20 and 15.