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Fewer dengue, Chik V and Zika cases in T&T
The number of dengue cases in T&T dropped by 40 per cent between 2016 and 2017.
For the same period, Chik V cases decreased by more than 90 per cent and Zika by 69 per cent.
All three diseases are spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh gave these statistics yesterday when he delivered the feature address at the opening of an Integrated Vector Management Workshop at the Flamingo Room, Trinidad Hilton and Conference Centre.
The project is financed by the European Union.
Deyalsingh said for this year to date there were 495 suspected dengue cases with only five confirmed. This compares to 2011 when there were 5,863 cases.
The minister said once a person is bitten by a mosquito and contracts either Zika or Chik V, immunity is developed against the disease. He said the best indicator of how a country’s insect control methods are working is to use the number of dengue cases as a gauge.
There were four types of this particular disease.
“You can theoretically get all types of dengue so there is no residence per se, so dengue is the best marker that tells you how your insect vector management control is working,” Deyalsingh said.
He said members of the public who continuously refuse to keep their surroundings clean are among the biggest contributors to mosquito breeding grounds.
Deyalsingh said while in many instances people want to see an entire area covered by fogging spray to eradicate mosquitoes, this would not be effective as spraying could only be done on a three-month basis as the mosquito becomes immune to the insecticide.
Dr Edwin Bolastig, advisor on Health Systems and Services, PAHO/WHO T&T, said more than 80 per cent of the world’s population is at risk from at least one vector-borne disease and more than half are at risk from two or more.
He called for implementation of relevant vector control interventions that go beyond the health sector and said multi-sectoral approaches must also be strengthened.
Dr James Hospedales, executive director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), said the specific objective of the project is to strengthen health systems in the Caribbean to effectively detect, monitor, prevent and control outbreaks of Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases through an integrated approach.
Among the expected results, he said, are improved detection, more effective control of mosquito vectors, strengthened public education and behaviour change on Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases, increased availability of data and strengthened regional co-ordination mechanisms for prevention and response to such diseases.