There have been ten recorded cases of dengue fever in Antigua and Barbuda
reported over the past several weeks.
However, according to Health Minister Sir Molwyn Joseph, there are no reported
deaths from the disease and the ministry continues the fight to eradicate the aedes
aegypti mosquito that is responsible for the spreading the virus that causes the
Sir Molwyn made the disclosure during a press conference on Tuesday where he
provided reporters with a ‘state of health’ report for the country. The Minister also
reported that there are four cases of COVID-19 in the country. However, there
have not been any further reports of the disease over the past seven days.
Sir Molwyn disclosed that testing for dengue fever is ongoing at the Sir Lester Bird
Medical Centre as well as with that the Caribbean Public Health Agency’s
(CARPHA) assistance. Currently, testing is also being done for chikungunya,
influenza A & B and leptospirosis.
“The ministry of health is committed to strengthening the capacity to control the
presence of the aedes aegypti mosquito which spreads the virus,” the minister
On the issue of leprosy, Sir Molwyn noted that there have been a number of cases
reported in other Caribbean territories but so far, the disease has not been detected
in Antigua and Barbuda. “From our surveillance, Antigua and Barbuda continues
to be free of leprosy and has been s for more than twenty years. We however
believe that education and the dissemination of information and an awareness of
leprosy is important so our public relations team will be getting the information out
to the public in the coming weeks and months,” he stated
Fortunately, according to Sir Molwyn the country’s health infrastructure now has
the Infectious Disease Centre where anyone diagnosed with leprosy and other
highly contagious diseases such as cholera will be housed and treated.
On the issue of COVID-19, the health minister said there are currently no vaccines
available, but the ministry has already made contact with World Health
Organisation to access vaccines. He was not able to provide information how soon
these vaccines will arrive.
He explained that the ministry decided not to stockpile vaccines because they have
a short shelve life and there had been a decrease in the number of people wishing
to be vaccinated.
Under the circumstances, the minister is urging the public to practice the hygienic
steps to prevent the spread of this disease such as washing hands, practice good
cough etiquette and the wearing of masks.