They said so far 220 suspected dengue cases have been have been reported to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPA) with seven confirmed and one death so far this year.
But the Ministry of Health said that increased surveillance has reflected a decrease in the number of cases over the past two weeks.
“Most of these cases are in the populated north of the island, but what is of more significance is the potential to have a major dengue epidemic,” said epidemiologist Naihum JnBaptiste.
“One of the things that the environmental health branch does for dengue control is environmental management in terms of the habitats that breed the aegis egypti mosquitoes.
“What we have found in the most populated regions in the islands north is that the potential for spread of dengue is huge. In fact the literature informs that if you can get more than five out of 100 containers as breeding ground for mosquitoes, then you are at high risk for a dengue epidemic.
“In all of those northern areas the level was 20 infected containers to as high as 80,” Jn Baptiste said, calling on the public to be aware of the symptoms and to avoid the breeding of the mosquito by frequently checking and removing stagnant water from their premises.
Jn Baptiste said that dengue may be spreading its tentacles beyond the rainy season.
“With respect to persons who have the symptoms of dengue, we want to caution against getting complacent after the fever subsides. As long as symptoms such as diarrhoea, stomach pain, dehydration and bleeding remain, these are danger signs and treatments needs to be escalated in the presence of a health care provider.”
The aegis egypti mosquito breeds in artificial containers mainly found in homes with a life cycle averaging seven days.