19 March, 2018, 12:00 am
The revelation that we recorded 1854 confirmed dengue fever cases between January 1 and March 8 this year should be a concern.
In response to queries on the issue, the Health Ministry said while 562 cases were recorded in the West, with a downward trend in cases recorded every week, the Central Division was recording a “notable upward trend” in recent weeks.
At the highest peak of this outbreak (to date), it said, there were 93 patients per week confirmed to have dengue fever in the Western Division.
This, it said, came down to 60 in the next week, and then 30 in the following week and last week the number of cases fell below the expected number for the Western Division at this time of the year.
The statement revealed a total of 342 cases were recorded in the Central Division.
In recent weeks, it said, there had been a notable upward trend in confirmed dengue cases in the Central Division, mainly around the Suva subdivision.
The weekly case numbers exceeded expected numbers for the Central Division at this time of the year.
With the recent outbreak in the Western Division, it noted, it was expected that the Central Division would also see an increase in cases, due to geographical proximity, and frequent travel by populations between the two divisions.
Suva residents have been urged to use the example of Labasa, Ba, and Nadi, and work together to get rid of mosquito breeding places.
Two cases were recorded in Levuka for the Eastern Division.
The North recorded 948 cases in the same period with a downward trend in cases.
As part of the campaign to fight dengue spreading mosquitoes, a concerted effort has been made to continue the “Fight the Bite” awareness and clean-up campaigns as well as targeted spraying of insecticide in dengue hot spot areas.
However, spraying, it warned, is not a sustainable measure as only the adult mosquitoes are killed.
Within a week or two, mosquito populations will return as the unaffected eggs and larva (baby mosquitoes) mature, it warned.
This is why the fight must involve us all.
This is why it is critically important that we clean our own back yard first.
It is important that we discard all water carrying cans and pots, cut our grass in the back yard, and hope that neighbours would be considerate and keep their compounds clean as well.
The powers that be must come down hard on neighbours who shirk this responsibility.
Together we must join hands to fight dengue fever.