By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
The Vector Control Unit in the Ministry of Health has increased its efforts to mitigate the recent spike in the number of cases of dengue fever.
Chief Operator of the VCU, Kim Bautista told The Reporter on Saturday that the unit has stepped up its presence in targeted areas in the country where the cases have been occurring. “Belize City has been divided into nine zones, and efforts are concentrated in zones four and five which is on the south side,” Bautista said. “We also have had increased presence in Corozal Town and Libertad Village”, he added.
Bautista said that apart from increasing presence, the ministry has extended the tenure of the part-time support staff hired to assist the Vector Control Unit from September to October. This he said was done to maintain a strong “on-the-ground presence” in focus areas.
According to the Ministry of Health, in the upsurge of dengue cases this year there have been a noticeable increase of hemorrhagic dengue, a variation of the sickness that causes victims to bleed spontaneously through the skin. The ministry reports that every two to three years mutated strains of the sickness occurs, therefore the situation is manageable and not a cause for alarm.
The Pan American health Organization (PAHO) called on Caribbean countries this week to take stronger efforts to eradicate mosquito breeding sites and minimize the spread of dengue and chikungunya.
PAHO, in its official statement, said that with 850,000 cases of dengue and 470 deaths from severe dengue since the beginning of the year, and 650,000 cases of chikungunya with 37 deaths between last December and September 5, countries need to take more aggressive measures against mosquito breeding sites.