Health authorities have called on Martiniquans to be vigilant as the island faces a very active dengue fever epidemic.
During a press conference held on Tuesday August 22, the Regional Health Agency, the prefecture and the Territorial Collectivity of Martinique asked the population to mobilize to fight against the dengue fever epidemic which is actively circulating in the island. The territory was placed in the epidemic phase on August 17. “It is imperative that everyone understands that there is a work of control of its environment to remove (l) larval breeding places “said Manuel Etienne, director of the Center for Mosquito Control and Entomological Research.
How to protect yourself from mosquitoes, vectors of the disease?
The health authorities have thus reminded the population of the right actions to protect themselves from the Aedes Aegypti mosquito (vector of the disease) and prevent its reproduction:
- Avoid letting water stagnate;
- Change the water in the vases;
- Wear long clothes;
- Use repellents and mosquito nets.
Of the 34 municipalities on the island, 27 are affected by the active circulation of arbovirosis. This epidemic would be linked in particular to weather conditions favorable to the proliferation of mosquitoes. “The objective is to ensure that we have as few patients as possible because we are in an extremely humid period”said Laurence Gola de Monchy, secretary general of the prefecture of Martinique.
More than 3000 cases since January 2023
There have reportedly been more than 3,000 cases suggestive of dengue fever on the island since January 2023. Of these, 690 have been confirmed through blood tests, half of which have been reported in the past four weeks. Martinique is currently affected by the DENV2 serotype, which is one of the four types of dengue virus. The last significant epidemic linked to this serotype dates back more than 10 years. During the press conference, Laurence Gola de Monchy warned that people born after 2013-2014 were “absolutely not immune to this viral strain”.
The last dengue epidemic in Martinique began in 2019 and ended in 2021. More than 33,000 people were infected and 17 deaths were recorded.
What are the symptoms of dengue fever?
Dengue fever is a generally benign disease whose symptoms in the vast majority of cases disappear in 2 to 5 days. It is characterized by a sudden onset of fever accompanied by one or more other symptoms:
- Headache ;
- Joint and/or muscle pain;
- Feeling of great fatigue;
In 2 to 4% of cases, there may be progression to a severe form (2 to 5 days after the onset of symptoms). The patient may then develop serious symptoms: sudden drop in temperature, increasing pain in the stomach or chest, persistent vomiting or diarrhoea, malaise with or without loss of consciousness, persistent bleeding from the nose and/or gums, cough or difficulty breathing, restlessness or abnormal drowsiness.