It Will Take a Community Effort

When looking at the figures for Malaria and Chikingunya, the numbers show a steady decrease in the number of confirmed cases. For Chikingunya, the total number of tests which returned positive from CARPHA and Central Medical Lab was 8 in 2014. Five from the Las Flores area and three imported. In 2015, the total number of tests which returned positive are 2 for the same period of time. In the case of Malaria, the figures show a gradual decrease. From 9,413  cases in 1995 to 19 cases in 2014. 2015 has seen 14 cases of Malaria so far, 3 of which were imported. Two from Guatemala, of which one was linked to Santander in Belmopan, and 1 from Nicaragua linked to the Norwegian Cruise Line which docked in Belize City earlier in the year. Lax border regulations aren’t assisting with the fight against such diseases but Kim Bautista, head of the Vector Unit, says there are initiatives in place to, at the very least, track down persons coming from malaria endemic places.vlcsnap-2015-08-07-11h11m21s220

Kim Bautista – Chief of Operations, Vector Control

“In terms of workers coming in, in the case of Santander, and you have an influx of Guatemalan workers, what we have done because many of them come from areas pandemic for Malaria, and we are going through a malaria elimination project in the region right now, what we did was recruit a volunteer that lives on the grounds, in terms of the barracks where they are, to collect malaria slides from fever cases. So we maintain surveillance at that level. There is a particular doctor that is assigned to them so we visit this doctor along with other doctors in the private sector to monitor the situation in terms of what he sees when he is screening these workers. In terms of the south, the concern is mostly malaria, so the response is similar with Santander in terms of having volunteers in these barracks take malaria slides for us and then we maintain that surveillance to insure that these workers do not come in infected with malaria. If it is with dengue or Chikingunya , then they receive treatment for that, but you will just treat symptoms.”

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