Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves in his weekly update to the nation yesterday on NBC radio St. Vincent and the Grenadines said that Pembroke, Calliaqua, Kingstown and Georgetown are hotbeds for the dengue virus currently affecting the country.
The Prime Minister who will end his home quarantine today reported:
“The area which shows the highest rate of infections, the Pembroke area close to one third, 30%, the Kingstown area, 21.5%, Calliaqua and Georgetown just above 12 % and the lowest areas were in the health districts of the Northern Grenadines, the Southern Grenadines and Cedar. Chateaubelair is also very low, just about 2% of the cases.”
Dr Gonsalves further said that there was a lot of misinformation in the public domain telling his audience:
“There is a lot of misinformation that is bandied about and it’s important to correct this misinformation.”
“I got a report yesterday Tuesday at 6:41 pm addressing the laboratory confirmed dengue virus. It says the first laboratory confirmed case of dengue virus was reported on January 6th this year…cases remained at expected levels within the first half of the year.”
“As of the epidemiological week, week 26, that’s the half way stage in June, there has been an increase in the number of cases beyond the expected levels and in week 32 there was increased undifferentiated fever for those who are under 5 years of age.”
St Vincent and the Grenadines has now recorded 655 cases of laboratory confirmed dengue while actual cases are expected to be much higher. There are six (6) known deaths related to the virus.
The Prime Minister also sought to allay fears that the Ministry has dropped the ball on managing the virus including accusations of budget cuts to the Vector Control Unit.
“Minister of Health Browne gave a very good briefing, in fact a press briefing, and he made it plain that Cabinet had decided to put an additional 1.6 million dollars to strengthen the Environmental Management and Protection Services responses.”
Gonsalves said that the Integrated Vector Control Unit is within a larger programme called the Environmental Health Management Protection Services which is responsible for Public Health but that the management of public health also includes other government departments including the Chief Medical Officer’s office, CWSA, BRAGSA and individuals.