A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
In its latest official bulletin dated 20 October 2020, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment has confirmed an increase in reported cases of dengue infection in the country with 1,155 laboratory confirmed cases of dengue fever recorded and six fatalities. The Hospital Services Programme and the Community Health Services Programme of the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment continue to report increased patients presenting with symptoms consistent with Dengue fever. The last experience in the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) islands was in 2012 when 200 cases were reported.
This increase in the number of cases is a clear indicator of a larger imminent outbreak on the island. As such, it is necessary to reduce the number of cases shortly.
The direct and indirect costs of dengue illness and vector control programs represent a substantial economic burden on both the health sector and the overall economy of SVG. This at a time when the Small Island Developing State is being significantly impacted by the current COVID-19 global pandemic.
Children under 15 years old remain most affected (Table 1), with approximately 55% of laboratory confirmed cases falling in this age group.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is currently experiencing the most severe dengue fever outbreak in its recent history.
The mosquito borne disease continues to affect all health districts, but most reported cases have been reported in the Pembroke, Kingstown, Calliaqua and Georgetown Health Districts (Table 2).
Since the 2012 outbreak, the government has upgraded its surveillance and control system although it is understood that activities to control dengue both locally and regionally have been only moderately effective as vector control programs are costly and difficult to sustain. Additionally, given the COVID-19 context in country, it is feared that this dengue outbreak could expand considerably without appropriate and timely intervention.