The Central Board of Health (CBH) is not taking any chances with the spread of dengue fever, after Antigua and Barbuda recorded two cases of the disease late last month.
The CBH has since launched an educational drive to mitigate against the spread of the mosquito-borne disease.
The campaign, themed ‘Toss it out, clean it out, keep it out’ began on Monday in the Greenbay Primary School and have continued in other schools across the country.
Senior Public Health Inspector Julienne Mannix explained that although the students knew some of the particulars of the disease, they were not aware of how they could prevent it.
“When we ask the students about the mosquito, if they know about the characteristics of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, they say ‘yes’. Ask them if they know about the diseases associated with the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, they were able to tell us, but when you ask them if they are afraid of getting dengue fever the answer was mostly ‘no’.
“When you ask them if they ever walk around in their home and check to see if they have any mosquito breeding sites, the answer is mostly ‘no’, but they know about the larvae; they’ve seen larvae inside of a container but they never try to prevent breeding by throwing it away or cleaning out the container,” she stated.
She said that they tried to inform the children of how the disease would affect them, their families, and their peers.
Mannix said thus far, the information has been well received.
Students were taught to “toss the water out of the container which will have in larva and pupa. Then, you will clean it out so you are gonna clean the sides of the container to remove any eggs that might be attached and you are going to keep it out. So you are going to use a tightly fitting covering or you are going to use original covering so the mosquitoes can’t enter again”, the senior health inspector advised.
The students were also encouraged to share the information with their parents and other family members and to check for breeding sites at home.
The sensitization campaign will continue in other schools and clinics.
On September 30, the Ministry of Health recorded two laboratory cases of dengue.
The viral disease, which is spread by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, has symptoms such as fever, headache, rash, and vomiting, which could lead to dehydration, muscle pain, dark coloured stool and bleeding from the nose and mouth.