Health official urges residents in high risk areas to be vigilant

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Acting Deputy Chief Health Inspector Darryl Spencer has pleaded with the public, especially those living in areas with a high concentration of Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes (which spread Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya) to be on their guard.

“I am asking the residents to be extra vigilant. Urlings, consistently remains high … St. Phillips, Newfield, Cades Bay, Freeman’s Village. These communities have for the last year-and-ahalf been extremely challenging to work with and to get the indices down. We have visited these communities maybe three or more times [more] than the average communities,” he said.

Spencer, who was a guest on OBSERVER AM yesterday, added that there are some practices in these communities that are unhealthy. “Storing water in these communities makes it very difficult to control the indices. We’ve even had issues or we even made policies to give nets out to home owners to cover their tanks and drums, but what we find is after they use it they throw it to the side and then the cycle continues.”

Meanwhile, with the many suspected cases of Dengue fever in Antigua and Barbuda, health officials are currently in the process of verifying the numbers. But this will take some time, as confirmation has to done by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), because Antigua and Barbuda no longer has its own laboratory for that purpose.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Oritta Zachariah is of the view that Antigua and Barbuda needs its own public health lab to not only confirm such cases, but to examine other health risks.

“Essentially, testing previously would have been done in Antigua, but it’s now a unified approach and CARPHA tests and confirms. What we would like one day is to have is our own public health lab where we can test not only for dengue, but for Zika and other viruses. Until such time we rely on CARPHA.”

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