Health Ministry to procure new dengue fever vaccines

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony

Despite the country’s ability to control the number of dengue cases, the Ministry of Health is actively seeking further measures to minimise these occurrences.

Speaking at an event on Tuesday at the ministry’s headquarters on Brickdam, Minister Dr Frank Anthony told reporters that the ministry is currently in the process of acquiring a new vaccine for dengue.

“We are now trying to get a particular vaccine that will cover the four different types of dengue. As of right now, we are still exploring that option because the vaccines are quite expensive,” Dr Anthony stated.

Acknowledging the spike in dengue cases during the early part of last year, Dr Anthony assured that with the current methods in place, dengue cases will continue to remain at a low rate.

One of these methods involves the ministry’s Vector Control Unit conducting spraying and fogging activities in communities to eliminate the mosquitoes responsible for transmitting the virus.

The minister also highlighted the introduction of a new technique known as Abate to prevent the spread of dengue fever.

For context, Abate is a larvicide, which means, it effectively targets and kills mosquito larvae, specifically those of Aedes species, helping to prevent the spread of dengue fever.

“With Abate, you put it in stagnant water, and it will dissolve. When this mixture is made, it will help to prevent breathing sites for the mosquitoes,” the minister explained.

Dengue fever outbreaks are more likely during the rainy season because stagnant water, where Aedes mosquitoes breed, becomes more abundant.

Minister Anthony emphasised a more proactive approach to diagnosing dengue fever.

This involves increased use of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) .

Rapid tests play a crucial role in precisely diagnosing dengue. This allows for early and proper treatment, potentially leading to a decrease in the number of dengue cases.

Minister Anthony highlighted the effectiveness of this method, noting that it has contributed to the reported reduction in dengue cases across all ten administrative regions last August.