The Department of Health will start fogging territory-wide beginning on Wednesday, June 30, as part of its mosquito abatement program following recent downpours. The fogging will be conducted in phases from 6-9 p.m. by the Environmental Health Division on the following dates on St. Thomas:
Estates Tutu, Hidden Valley, Smith Bay, Nadir, Bovoni, Bolongo Bay and Fort Mylner
Estates Bordeaux, Contant, Lindbergh Bay and Magens Bay
Health Commissioner Julia Sheen said Tuesday that fogging will commence on St. Thomas, in light of confirmed cases of dengue fever on that island. Schedules for the islands of St. John and St. Croix will follow.
“Increased rains translate to an increase in the mosquito population, which puts residents at risk for mosquito-borne illnesses, including dengue fever,” Sheen said. “We remind residents that studies show that fogging by itself does not prevent the risk of dengue fever, so individuals should make it a practice to scour their yards after heavy rains and empty out receptacles that hold stagnant water, which is prime breeding grounds for the mosquito that causes dengue.”
Dengue fever is caused by a virus transmitted by the aedes aegypti mosquito, and symptoms include headache, joint and muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. More complicated cases of dengue fever can result in dengue hemorrhagic fever, which is characterized by high fever, bleeding and circulatory failure, and in rare instances, may result in death.
Sheen said that healthcare providers, by law, are to report all suspected cases of dengue. Reports should be made to DOH Epidemiologist Dr. Eugene Tull, at 773-1311, ext. 3241 or via secure fax at 713-1508.
Dr. Tull said that children and seniors are at higher risk and that residents should seek medical attention promptly if they suspect they have dengue fever. He said residents can also help their community and the Health Department stop the spread of dengue by doing basic things:
- Keep tires in dry place
- Put plants that are currently in water into soil. Empty flowerpot bases weekly
- Keep barrels tightly sealed
- Cover or turn pet dishes and buckets that hold water upside down
- Place a screen or mesh over the overflow pipe of cisterns
- Repair or replace damaged screens, and keep windows and doors without screens closed
- Cover infant cribs with mosquito netting
- Use mosquito repellants containing DEET. Follow instructions carefully and use on arms, legs, ankles and nape of neck. Avoid applying repellant to eyes, lips or bruised skin and to children under two-years-old or to the hands of older children