The Ministry of Health has recorded ten suspected cases of dengue fever in Antigua and Barbuda in recent months, placing the country on alert.
Only two of these cases have been confirmed by laboratory testing, the others are suspected cases between April 2018 and January 2019.
More adults than children are reporting dengue fever and so far more females than males are affected.
Dr Andrew Smith Medical Officer for Surveillance and Epidemiology says these cases have been reported in a wide cross section of communities.
Symptoms of dengue fever include headaches, fever, vomiting and a rash in some cases.
Although the disease is carried only by the Aedes Egyptae mosquito, elimination of the mosquito is virtually impossible. Fogging and other methods of vector control have therefore been planned on a wide scale, and all households are asked to ensure that breeding places for mosquitoes are eliminated. The Aedes Egyptae mosquito lays eggs in vases, old tires, flower pots and anywhere that water accumulates. The doctors recommend nets over beds, long sleeves when going out in the early mornings and early evenings, and other defensive methods that prevent mosquitoes from biting. There is no immunity against dengue; therefore, anyone can contract the disease.Recent cabinet notes have indicated that given the importance of tourism to the economy of Antigua and Barbuda, every effort has to be made throughout the nation to prevent the disease from making many people sick. A public relations campaign will commence immediately, and Cabinet has voted a sum of money to enable the printing of materials, and the use of infomercials on radio and television.