St. Maarten St. Martin St. Barths Saba
Original Post on October 08, 2008; update 3 on October 14
To put it bluntly, the Dengue situation on St. Maarten/St. Martin, St. Barths and Saba is growing worse and worse.
It could not get any more worse though, now that a 54 year old male of St. Maarten has died from complications of Dengue Fever. And the only reason he died, says Sector Health Care, is because he failed to seek medical care in a timely fashion. This is the first death attributed to Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever on St. Maarten for some time.
The overall number of Dengue infections on record may appear to be small, but looking at the percentages, St. Maarten labs confirmed 200% more cases in August than in July. Comparatively, there was a 400% percent increase from August to the third week of September.
On the Dutch side, there were 3 laboratory Confirmed Cases in July and 9 in August.
On the French side, there was a dramatic increase in hospitalisations from 1 in the month of August to 6 in September. 5 of the September hospitalisations were adults with 3 deemed to be very severe. The other one was a child.
However, the number of infections recorded on French St. Martin was of a much gloomier hue than previously thoughy. The Prefecture (French health authorities) recorded 72 Suspected Dengue Cases in the last week of September, twice as many than in the third week of that month. Conversely, the rate of Biological confirmations in week four (15) was markedly slower than in week three (10).
St. Martin has, therefore, declared a state of vigilance, called the ‘Vigilance Phase’ in Vector Control jargon. St. Barths is already in an Inter-epidemic Phase.
Saba is now in Epidemic mode with 9 Confirmed Cases. 2 of the 9 were hospitalised. Dr. Jack Buchanan and Dr. Gys Koot of Saba, as quoted by the St. Maarten Daily Herald in its Tuesday, October 7 online edition, predicted that there will be more cases yet. 20 individuals from Saba were first screened on French St. Martin before confirmatory tests were conducted at the Diagnostic Center in Curaçao.
Head of the Vector Control Rudolph Johnson is very surprised by this development. He told the Daily Herald that he was aware of only 1 case of Dengue on Saba in his thirty-seven years on the job. Johnson has stepped up premises inspections and is posting extra notices of appeal to residents to eliminate free standing water and protect water-bearing containers in their homes and surroundings.
The Saba outbreak has been traced back to Orient Beach on St. Maarten. This is based on the fact that three individuals who showed signs and symtoms of Dengue had all been to Orient Beach and that one other person who contracted the disease had never left the island.
One year ago, the average monthly infection rate on Dutch St. Maarten was just 2 per month. Bear in mind that about ten times more individuals carrying the virus probably never presented to a doctor and were not even diagnosed with the disease, far less to be confirmed with it. The question is, how much darker might the true Dengue picture be on St. Maarten?
The answer to that lies in the Sector Health Care Affairs (SHCA) Dengue Action Response Team (DART) revelation that 27 cases of Dengue were Laboratory Confirmed for the entire month of September. The results for 26 Suspected Dengue Cases are still pending. By the way, these figures include Dutch side residents who crossed the border unto the French side for testing, a not too rare occurrence, and those who had their blood samples tested in Curaçao.
SHCA/DART and the Sous Prefecture have started a fogging campaign, the latter on Friday, October 3.
Unconfirmed reports from Philipsburg has it that 11 persons have been hospitalised with Dengue on Dutch St. Maarten since the beginning of October. 5 of these patients were Laboratory Confirmed while 1 result was Negative for the disease. The balance of the results is pending.
A release from SHCA/DART indicates that the Dengue outbreak has been broadcast from the St. Johns residential area to which it was confined in August, evidence enough that the Dengue mosquito is moving the virus around at a rapid pace. This is only possible when mosquito breeding is to be found in more than one in a hundred houses within a given community.
It is for this reason that the St. Maarten health authorities continue to urge residents of the island to take all preventative measures to curb the breeding of the Aedes aegypti mosquito and thereby stem the spread of the Dengue virus before the outbreak gets more acute.
Further, the Hygiene Department is calling on residents of the protectorate to cooperate fully with their inspectors who are currently carrying out spot checks and taking immediate vector control measures where necessary.
They have made it clear too that all persons who have symptoms resembling those of Dengue Fever should consult a physician without delay. An advisory has gone out to all physicians officially informing them of the Dengue Outbreak and telling them that any of their patients who demonstrate the classic signs and symptoms of the disease be sent for testing, of which there should be no less than two tests.
Health Department DSDS (French side) has, for its part, embarked upon an awareness campaign to prevent the further spread of Dengue. The target group are the students of the three French colleges.
Dengue 1 and 2 have so far been identified on French St. Martin. Dengue 4 was isolated in one case on Dutch St. Maarten in September.
Later Post:- Dengue: What 2008 has brought – to St. Maarten
Other Source: Dengue Outbreak on French Side— Island under Vigilance (French)
MARIGOT — Residents of French St. Martin are urged to exercise precaution now that ihas been confirmed that there is another outbreak of dengue. A press release from the Sous Prefecture states that based on information collected , they can confirm that there an outbreak of dengue, which began some ten days ago.
The Inter-Regional Epidemiology (WAX) Antilles Guyana met with the Committee of Experts on infectious diseases within the Northern Islands for a meeting on October 1st, 2008 to assess the epidemiological situation of dengue.
The latest data from the local sentinel network confirmed the start of the resurgence of dengue.
Given the climatic conditions which are in favour of the breeding of mosquitoes, the population should implement the preventive measures widely known to them without delay.
In addition to these preventive measures, an insecticide spraying campaign will run throughout the island of Saint Martin as of today October 3rd.
Even though the number of confirmed cases has not been released, they said that the population needs to apply the preventative measures rigorously. The release also states that the dengue epidemic is in its early stage.
The committee plans to meet again on October 16 to reassess the local situation.
Some of the actions to be taken to eradicate the mosquito (Aedes aegypti) which is known to transmit dengue are as follows:
The prefecture of Saint-Barthélemy and St. Martin is reminding residents of the most effective ways to fight the proliferation of the single mosquito vector for dengue, “Aedes aegypti.”
- Avoid mosquito bites in the morning and evening: use repellent sprays or creams to fight the mosquitoes; wear long sleeved clothing in the evenings; install screens on doors and windows; and young children and the elderly especially should sleep under mosquito nets.
- Be sure to remove stagnant water in and around your homes because clear stagnant water in flower pots for instance is the preferred breeding place for the Dengue mosquito.
- Protect the tanks and cisterns of your home from the proliferation of mosquitoes with a canvas net.
- If your tanks or cisterns are not treated, you can stock them with guppies, fish that eat the larvae of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, to curb the proliferation of the pest.
- Periodically clean your gutters to make sure they do not trap water after rain episodes.
- Check the state of repair of your septic tank and when fogging is being done, leave your doors and windows wide open.