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Health Ministry continues to fight dengue and Chik-V

Posted: Friday, February 19, 2016. 1:09 pm CST.

Posted: Friday, February 19th, 2016. 1:09 p.m. CST

aedes aegyptiBy Aaron Humes: Zika occupies the headlines at the moment. But it was only last year that chikungunya or Chik-V dominated the headlines, while, dengue, an old enemy, is still hanging around.

According to the Ministry of Health, surveillance for Zika also takes into account the presence of dengue and chikungunya.

Senior Public Health Inspector for the Ministry’s Central Health Region, Javier Alpuche, shared the latest on both diseases from surveillance reports this week meeting with the Belize City Council and its staff.

According to Alpuche, the country generally saw a spike in cases of dengue reported, which began in the latter part of 2014 going into 2015. But in the Belize District in 2015, the number of cases actually dropped from 1,105 to 323. 226 of these were laboratory confirmed.

Of confirmed cases in the Belize District, a majority took place in Belize City, although San Pedro reported 41 cases; Ladyville, 18; Burrell Boom and Western Paradise, seven each; and Caye Caulker, six.

In Belize City itself, two areas on Southside are of particular concern according to Alpuche: Lake Independence and Port Loyola. Alpuche noted that Zones 7 and 9 on the Northside reported similar numbers but theorized that this is due to where these persons worked – on Southside – rather than where they lived.

As for Chik-V, which marched through the Caribbean with significant damage in 2015, Belize was spared the worst: just one case was confirmed from 12 samples suspected.

Alpuche stated that the Ministry has forgone its annual practice of resting from spraying for mosquitoes in the early part of the year due to the Zika threat. He also noted that some homeowners have verbally threatened Ministry personnel from the Vector Control Unit who conduct thermal spraying and fogging of affected areas.

The City Council has been asked to cooperate by raising awareness of the spraying for residents.

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