By Vishani Ragobeer
The new region affected by the floods (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) has now recorded a number of cases of dengue fever and regional authorities hope to control the spread by carrying out continuous misting exercises.
Over the past two weeks, regional authorities alongside the Civil Defense Commission (CDC) have attempted to support residents of the region as the rainy season continued.
Despite these efforts, the floods have exacerbated existing challenges in the region, including the spread of vector-borne diseases.
“We have a dengue (fever) epidemic in the region right now,” Regional President Brian Allicock told the press room on Friday.
The president said that some of his staff in the regional office were infected with the dengue virus. In addition, according to the information he received, people in the region were also infected.
“What we are doing is we have to start the misting again so that we can control this,” the president said.
Dengue, According to the WHO, is a mosquito-borne viral disease caused by the dengue virus. This virus is a vector-borne disease that is transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti.
It is important to note that the WHO also notes that dengue causes a wide spectrum of illnesses, ranging from subclinical illnesses (where people may not know they are infected) to severe flu symptoms and other serious complications. that can lead to death if not handled properly.
As regional authorities aim to start misting to exterminate the mosquito population, Allicock said this exercise could be a bit difficult due to the ongoing rainfall. As such, exercise should be well planned.
It is important to note that mosquitoes lay their eggs in containers and spaces filled with water. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eggs hatch when submerged in water. And the life cycle of a mosquito, from an egg to larvae, to pupae and finally, to an adult mosquito, takes about eight days.
Realizing this, Allicock noted that perhaps regional authorities should engage in the nebulization exercise every month.
âBecause of the rain and so right now, even if you have fog, the rain would only wash it away,â said the regional president. Nonetheless, he said that efforts are also being made to educate people on how to protect themselves against the disease.
Earlier this month, Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony handed over 17,300 insecticide-treated bednets to the new region. These nets will be able to kill any mosquitoes that land on them and are part of national efforts to reduce the spread and effects of malaria.
Next, Dr Anthony also said that malaria, another vector-borne disease, remains a major challenge in region nine. In 2020, the region recorded 954 positive cases and 739 cases the year before. Between January and April 2021, some 349 cases have already been recorded.
INCREASE IN COVID-19
As he has previously recounted, Allicock lamented that COVID-19 remains a major challenge for this region. Earlier this week, he said 72 people had been infected in the village of Fairview and 29 cases had been recorded in Apoteri.
Addressing the important peak at Fairview, the President explained that this village is located on the access road to Lethem from Georgetown and as such it is the first village that commuters come into contact with.
Previously, he explained that since residents help each other as they navigate the floods, there has been an increased risk of person-to-person contact and the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
As the region faces the challenges it faces, Allicock stressed that relief supplies are being provided to affected residents. Currently, the water is receding.
The increase in flood waters, Allicock explained previously, was caused by an increase in water flowing from the Rio Negro and Bracho rivers in Brazil into the Takutu River which borders the Nine and Brazi region. This increase in water was exacerbated by heavy rains and resulted in flooding in a number of communities.