Health Officials in Dominica preparing for possible mosquito-borne disease yellow fever outbreak, just as the country recovers from the effects of the notorious Zika virus. Acting Chief Environmental Health Officer, Ferdinia Carbon has said that the dangers posed by this other mosquito-borne disease may be looming. There has been an outbreak of yellow fever in Africa, and Carbon said on Thursday, that the matter is of “major concern”, and the Ministry of Health is preparing in case the disease comes to our shores. She stated on state owned Radio, “Presently, we are having an outbreak of yellow fever in Africa, and as we know, that’s where Zika and chikungunya started. We are making preparations, in view of the possibility that yellow fever could come to our area.”
In July, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that the Ministry of Health in Angola reported at least 3,552 suspected and confirmed cases nationally, including 355 deaths. The CDC released a Level 2 Alert on the situation, warning people to ‘Practice Enhanced Precautions’. Carbon described the disease as a “major concern” to health officials, due to the ten percent (10%) fatality rate associated with it. Contraction of yellow fever is preventable through vaccination.
She revealed that officials in the Ministry of Health are working closely with the authorities to ensure that visitors are screened before entering the country, so as to ensure citizens’ safety. “We, in the ministry of Health have already started preparing to ensure that we are able to respond to yellow fever if it should get to our shores,” she assured. “We have started working with the immigration and customs persons to try to ensure that persons coming from where there is yellow fever, so that they can show us their vaccination cards.”
Carbon further assured that the Ministry will soon provide the public with more information on the disease. Yellow fever is an acute viral disease, spread by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, chills, loss of appetite, nausea, muscle pains, and headaches. In most cases, symptoms improve within five days. Yet, in some instances, after apparent recovery, patients may experience fever, abdominal pain, and yellow skin. Earlier this month, the Environmental Health Department embarked on a rain barrel mosquito proofing project, to reduce the spread of mosquito-borne diseases on the island. The project is funded by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
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