Antilles monitoring the dengue situation closely
~ 53 confirmed cases ~
The Daily Herald St. Maarten
Oct. 25, 2007
PHILIPSBURG--As some parts of the Caribbean and Latin America continue their efforts to stem the tide of dengue cases, the Netherlands Antilles is keeping a close eye on the situation.
Of the 269 lab tests for dengue done in the Netherlands Antilles between January and early October, 165 were suspected dengue cases, 53 were confirmed to be dengue fever and one case in Curaçao was confirmed to be dengue hemorrhagic fever.
The report Update Dengue Fever 2007 compiled by the Curaçao-based Epidemiology and Research Unit shows that no lab tests were done for Saba and St. Eustatius so far this year. According to the report, a total of 25 dengue lab tests were done for St. Maarten between January and early October. Fourteen were suspected cases, four were confirmed to be dengue fever and seven tested negative. The monthly breakdown shows that the highest number of suspected dengue cases for St. Maarten (four) was reported in August, followed by January when three cases were reported. The last confirmed dengue case (one) was in September. The other confirmed cases were in March (two) and July (one).
In Curaçao a total of 195 tests were done, 37 of which were confirmed dengue cases, 125 were suspected cases, 32 were negative and one was confirmed dengue hemorrhagic fever. In Bonaire a total of 49 tests were done, 12 of which were confirmed dengue fever, 26 were suspected cases and 11 tested negative. The data for the report were compiled thorough a laboratory-based surveillance system, a collaboration between Analytic Diagnostic Centre (ADC) and the Epidemiology and Research Unit of the Medical and Public Health Services.
Head of the Preventative Section of Sector Health Care Affairs in St. Maarten Dr. Rachel Eersel, who had stated earlier that 11 suspected cases had been reported via the local health surveillance system, said the figures in the report did not show any alarming trends in St. Maarten. She had said earlier that some 11 suspected cases of dengue had been reported on the island for the entire year 2006. The figures in the report, Eersel said, are from lab tests done by the ADC lab in St. Maarten and do not include figures from French St. Martin. She said some people went to the French side for their tests and SHCA was working with French St. Martin health authorities to get a clearer picture of the number of cases for both sides of the island. She said a close eye was being kept on the situation.
Head of the Veterinary and Hygiene Department Tony Boyrard had told this newspaper in an earlier interview that the current weather conditions were not favourable for fumigating. “We are monitoring everything and it doesn’t make sense to do fumigation at the moment,” Boyrard had said, “because when it rains the residue of the insecticide that will be left on trees will be washed away and won’t have any real effect. If we fumigate right now we also risk the mosquitoes developing a resistance to the insecticide and if we do get a dengue outbreak here it will be twice as difficult to control it.” Boyrard had said fogging would start as soon as weather conditions permitted. (Judy Fitzpatrick)