News 10 Feb, 2016

Brazil - Dengue Fever Outbreak in Paranaguá and Antonina

Club correspondents Van Herp & Frumento (P&I Services) Ltda, Paranaguá have advised that the local government has declared an outbreak of dengue fever in the ports of Paranaguá and Antonina. Approximately 8,000 individuals have been infected to date resulting in 4 fatalities.

The Brazilian National Agency for Health Vigilance (ANVISA), has published information on the disease for the guidance of crews aboard vessels on passage to the area: “Considerations on Dengue, its symptoms and main concerns for vessels calling the ports of Paranaguá”.

At present there is no vaccine for dengue fever, therefore practical measures should be taken in order to limit possible exposure to the female Aedes Aegypti mosquito which carries the dengue fever parasite. Vessels proceeding to the affected areas are advised to consider implementing the following practical measures:

Practical considerations

When considering what should be done to prevent being bitten, an understanding of what attracts mosquitoes is useful. Mosquitoes seeking human blood are attracted by carbon dioxide in exhaled breath, body heat, lactic acid present on human skin and movement indicating that the person is alive. Dark colours and dark clothing contrasting with a brighter background can also indicate that a human is moving. Mosquitoes are not attracted to light but may be drawn towards the heat emitted by a light.

The female Aedes Aegypti mosquito feeds and bites mainly at dusk and dawn therefore, as far as practicable, crew members should remain inside at these times.

While outside, for the reasons outlined above bare skin should be covered with light coloured rather than dark clothing. Clothes should also be loose fitting as it is possible for mosquitoes to bite through garments which are tight. A suitable insect repellent should be applied to any exposed skin ideally containing DEET (N-diethylmetatoluamide), ensuring that the manufacturer’s instructions are followed. Insect repellent should be re-applied regularly as sweat will reduce its effectiveness over time. If used together with sun screen, the insect repellent should be applied last.

The accommodation air conditioning should be in continuous operation and all doors, windows, ports and, where practicable, vents should be fully and properly closed. If access doors are fitted with mesh screens, these should also be closed. If any mosquitoes are spotted inside the accommodation these should be eradicated, ideally using knockdown insecticide spray.

In situations where air conditioning is not available, mesh screens should be fitted to access doors and ports. Bed nets should also be employed, ensuring that they are well tucked in and free from mosquitoes prior to use. Bed nets should also be soaked in a suitable insecticide every six months and regularly inspected for holes and tears. Spraying internal areas with indoor residual insecticide may also be considered as such products can be effective for over 3 months depending on the insecticide used and the type of surface on which it is sprayed. In some parts of the world mosquitoes are resistant to certain insecticides, therefore checks should be made to verify that the proposed insecticide is effective in the region where it will be used.

Since mosquitoes prefer to breed in stagnant water, higher concentrations of mosquitoes may be expected in and around still water areas, even small puddles of rainwater. Areas of standing water on the deck should be brushed away, and any water that has collected, for example, on top of lubricating oil drums, in buckets or in save-alls should be removed to discourage mosquito activity.

Members requiring further guidance should contact the Loss Prevention department.