Observed increase Zika Virus Cases. CPS Re-emphasizes message to the community to use mosquito repellent and take measures to eliminate mosquito breeding sites

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GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a government department under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, has observed an increase in lab confirmed Zika cases.

CPS is reminding the community as well as visitors to wear light colored clothing at dusk; long sleeve shirts and pants; and use mosquito repellent to prevent being bitten by a mosquito that could possibly be carrying a mosquito borne disease.

Persons who suspect that they have a mosquito-borne disease should consult their family physician who based on your symptoms should refer the person to SLS Laboratory to confirm the clinical diagnosis.

The physician(s) once suspect a mosquito borne disease be it Zika, Chikungunya and/or Dengue, reports to the CPS. Upon receiving the report CPS will contact the patient to arrange for follow up as it relates to mosquito breeding sites in and around the persons’ immediate surrounding. During this follow up CPS’s surveillance team takes the opportunity to identify other epidemiological linked cases and to orient the person on protection, exposure, and prevention to mitigate the further spread and increase of cases.

CPS re-enforces its message that all residents and businesses need to take proactive measures to prevent mosquitos from breeding.  Be on the alert for mosquito breeding sites and eliminate!

Dengue fever, Zika and Chikungunya are transmitted by the female vector Aedes Aegypti mosquito. It is the females who feed to get a blood meal to lay its eggs.

The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is distinguished by its markings. The body of the mosquito has alternate black and white horizontal stripes. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito lays her eggs in clear (clean) stagnant water. Within eight days the mosquito can complete its life cycle from egg, to larvae to pupae and to adult mosquito.

Actively destroy or dispose of tin cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that collect and hold water. Do not allow water to accumulate in the saucers of flowerpots, cemetery urns/vase or in pet dishes for more than two days.  Throw out the water and turn them over every time it collects water.

Check around construction sites or do-it-yourself improvements to ensure that proper backfilling and grading is realized to prevent drainage problems which can be a source for standing water.  Empty all construction containers such as blue tanks, buckets, paint cans etc.

Mosquitoes can be kept out of the home by keeping windows, doors and porches tightly screened (16-18 mesh). Those insects that do get into structures can be eliminated with a fly swatter or an aerosol space spray containing synergized pyrethrum.

Screen off cistern outlets, cover and screen septic tanks properly.

An increase in the mosquito population puts residents and visitors at risk. For information about dengue fever, zika and chikungunya prevention measures, you can call CPS 542-2078 or 542-3003 or the emergency number 550-2255 that is 550-CALL to report mosquito breeding sites or send us an email atsurveillance@sintmaartengov.org