UPDATE ON THE DENGUE AND LEPTOSPIROSIS SITUATION IN SAINT LUCIA
In 2020, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs recorded its worst Dengue fever outbreak ever on island. A total 1,318 cases were confirmed by laboratory testing, over 500 suspected cases and unfortunately 3 deaths were recorded by the ministry.
The Ministry of Health is happy to report that for this year 2021 only 39 cases have been recorded as compared to 2020 where 1,118 cases were recorded for the same period.
Despite the fact that a substantial decrease in Dengue fever cases has been noted by the ministry, we are asking Saint Lucians to continue to remain vigilant and to practice source reduction techniques to keep your home free of mosquitoes and other vectors like rats, mice, flies and cockroaches.
Based on epidemiological trends from previous years, the ministry records higher cases of dengue fever during the rainy season. The Ministry of Health encourages the public to take weekly walks around their properties to identify and eliminate mosquito breeding sites.
Spend 10 minutes once a week to check around the house and yard to eliminate water sources that can provide breeding sites for mosquitoes ·
- Ensure that drums and water barrels are properly covered to prevent entry by mosquitoes
- · Discard small water holding containers around the yard such as tyres, tin cans, bottles, flower pots, storage jars · Unclog roof gutterings and trim weeds and tall grasses
- Dispose of bulky waste items like old fridges, toilets, washing machines and
other old household appliances
- Practice personal and family protection
- Prevent indoor mosquito bites by screening windows, keeping windows closed
- Sleep under a bed net during the day
- Wear long sleeve clothing during the day when mosquitoes are most active
- Use repellents to exposed skin or clothing.
The Ministry of Health has also recorded an increase in leptospirosis cases. A total of 5 cases have been recorded this year compared to 2 cases in 2020. The Ministry of Health advises the public to take the following measures to reduce the risk of becoming ill with leptospirosis:
· Wear protective clothing, shoes, gloves to avoid coming into contact with contaminated surfaces, soil, water source or food
· Avoid contact with surfaces and water sources that may be contaminated with rat urine
· Keep your home and surroundings free of garbage
· Wash the tops of cans before opening, and wash all fruits and vegetables before eating
· Avoid leaving food where rats can get to it. · Keep food in covered containers
· Cover open wounds properly
For more information, please contact the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs at 468- 5300 or the Environmental Health Division at 468-3700. For more information please contact the Of ice of the Chief Medical Of icer or the Epidemiology Unit, at 468-5309/468-5317 respectively