Health authorities focus on mosquito controls as hospital confirms infant dengue fatality

Male’s Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) has confirmed that a nine-month old child died today from dengue fever as health officials look to combat further spread of the virus through attempts to control mosquito numbers.

Hospital spokesperson Zeenath Ali confirmed that the child was pronounced dead at 12:27am after being admitted with suspected dengue fever two days earlier.  Ali added that she was unable to give any further details of the specific strain of the virus that the child was thought to have suffered from or any additional details about the death without the consent of the infant’s family.

According to figures supplied by the Male’ Health Services Corporation Limited, a total of 59 people have been admitted to hospital between June 1 and June 20 this year suffering from the virus. Of these cases, six were admitted on suspicion of catching dengue fever, 50 were hospitalised with the dengue hemorrhagic variant of the virus and three others were diagnosed with dengue shock syndrome – where blood pressure drops so low that organs cannot function properly. Over the same period, 25 people were diagnosed by the hospital of having dengue fever and were treated as outpatients.

Early symptoms of virus are said to include fever, joint paint and a distinctive rash and headache, although it can be difficult to distinguish from the milder Chikungunya disease which can last for up to five days. However, even healthy adults can be left immobile by dengue for several weeks while the disease runs its course.

More than 300 cases of dengue fever in the Maldives were reported during the first two months of 2011, compared with 737 cases and two fatalities reported over the course of last year. While many of these cases were reported in Male’, most of the fatalities have been islanders, with the more serious cases thought to have disproportionately affected children.

Amidst these concerns, health authorities in the country have claimed that they are committed to a programme of working to control mosquito populations to try and combat the spread of the virus, particularly in island areas.

Geela Ali, Permanent Secretary for the Health Ministry, told Minivan News that while officials had not received any official reports of recent fatalities linked to dengue as of yesterday, there was concern in the ministry about outbreaks of the virus across the country of late.

Ali claimed that under present government health strategies, clinicians were being put at the forefront of efforts to try and provide local people with the best means to prevent potential infection of the virus, particularly in its more prominent forms like the type 1 strain.

“The main challenge is working with clinicians to pass on case management strategies to local clinics,” she said. “One of things we are trying to do is control [mosquito populations] and we are consulting with local councils and even the media in trying to do this.”

According to Ali, the hones for trying to combat dengue in the country remained on encouraging the public to locate and destroy mosquito breeding areas as to reduce incidences of the virus as effectively as possible.

While accepting that additional chemical spraying around various islands was one possibility being considered by the government  to stem the problem, she added this was strictly to be used only after clean ups of breeding grounds particularly on private property had taken place to ensure long-term effectiveness.

Earlier this year, the Centre for Community Health and Disease Control (CCHDC) and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) conducted spraying of mosquito breeding sites in Male’ and the surrounding islands, but reported difficulty obtaining access to residential and construction sites.

Virus management

Back in April, Minivan News reported that health experts believed fears over a growing number of dengue fatalities was potentially related to lapses in managing the disease, particularly due to the high turnover of foreign doctors on islands.

Dr Ahmed Jamsheed, a former head of the CCHDC, observed that January and February 2011 had seen higher instances of suspected dengue shock syndrome occurring in the country.

“Our initial theory was that this was a new strain of dengue,” he said. “There are four different strains, and strains one and three have been most prevalent. We took samples and sent them abroad but I had left the office by the time the results came back. I’m told out of the samples we sent a few tested positive for dengue one, which means no new strain.”


7 thoughts on “Health authorities focus on mosquito controls as hospital confirms infant dengue fatality”

  1. The Finace minister says Govt revenue rose to 115 million dollars in the first quater of this year..from taxes and all......Where is our money????....our fellow Maldivians in Vaikaradhoo are without electricity with mosquitos eating them....children are dying from dengue...Hospitals are filled to the limit...mosquito control non existent....Mr.President..Where is our money???....The taxes are further going to be increased.
    This is exactly what we feared...Our tax money is being stolen by MDP and its cronies on Mega projects such as border control, land reclaimation , international airlines etc..They are stealing from public purse and geting rich while we are left to die.

  2. ...I can barely control my anger...death from dengue is seomthing that is preventable with proper treatment...Mr.President and his cronies are playing football.

  3. @Nars
    I'm proud of you. You controlled your anger enough to write two comments blasting the government, which seems to be your remedy for every problem on earth. Why not try and keep this colour views out and just blast which every authorities that is not doing enough.

  4. we are in the middle of a crisis and the Permanent Secretary of health is talking about "strategies" give me a break!
    Minister Jameel should resign for Health Ministry's lack of action to control deaths from dengue.

  5. ....Fogging has been, for decades, the only way public health has adopted to control mosquito infestations.

    What does the fog contain?

    ...Ninety percent of resorts, private islands and even government authorities use powerful 100% chemical pesticides such as DELTACIDE, BENTACIDE, BAYTEX which anyone can walk into specific shops in Male and buy on the counter.It is mixed with diesel, and when fogged, you see a white cloud.

    How effect is fogging in Maldives?

    Believe it or not, 30% of the smoke (poisonous chemical residues) will settle on surfaces, and the rest blown away with the winds. Much of the 30% will find its way indoors. Nearly every house in Male has a child, a sick or an aging person. This toxic smoke penetrates into hospitals, clinics, schools, and literally everywhere. No doubt everyone will inhale a small percentage of toxic residues.

    DID YOU KNOW fogging targets adult mosquitoes outdoors which are mainly Male. What bites you and gives you dengue, is a female and normally indoors! Fogging will not kill the mosquito eggs or larvae and actually these are the targets.
    Does the authorities have the right expertise and tools to tackle this outbreak?

    Suggestions to DPH/MNDF

    Some of us have a professional background in this field and out of experience, I would suggest a few things. The primary target MUST be treating the clogged pavement drains/cemetery/parks/gardens/flower pots and any surface/ground that have soil. These are areas we have mosquito egg deposits (eggs can stay for over a year in dry ground/soil). Secondly, we must try to minimize water stagnation in construction or road projects. Culprits who create such, must be punished by law. Last but not least media should play a stronger role in creating awareness.
    ...alternatively, why not ask professional pest control companies to common up with suggestions on how to manage the outbreak. For sure CCHDC does not understand Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and fumigating islands will not help much but create more environment disasters like....the dying coral house reefs, poor crop yield in agriculture, etc.

    Do you know why most islands do not have tropical insects like butterflies, ladybugs, bees even though we have abundance of flower plants, Lilys, to attract pollinating insects? FOGGING, it kills anything that breathes!!!!

  6. Effective home remedy for dengue fever:
    The raw papaya leaves, 2pcs just cleaned and pound and squeeze with filter cloth. You will only get one tablespoon per leaf. So two tablespoon per serving once a day. Do not boil or cook or rinse with hot water, it will loose its strength. This is said to be good for increasing platelet counts and preventing dengue.

  7. @saucy...people die from dengue due to Shock..not due to low platlets...get your facts right.

    @leena....the health ministry and relevant authorities have to take the blame and President is the person who appoints these hig its his reponsiblity...We have to remove president from office in order to improve our health care system...President Nashhedd is a big failure...I sure hope he becomes the next Mohamed Ameen


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