Local dengue alert revealed

| 27/01/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Health news, Dengue Fever in Cayman Islands(CNS): Public health officials said today (Wednesday 27 January) that blood samples have been sent to the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) in Trinidad to test for possible dengue fever after three residents were hospitalized earlier this month. Medical Officer of Health Dr Kiran Kumar confirmed that the three people had acute viral infections and officials now need to know if it could have been dengue fever. Officials also confirmed that the patients had no recent travel history.

“The Cayman Islands Hospital admitted three patients, all suffering from acute viral infections,” Dr. Kumar stated. “They were treated and fully recovered. The patients are no longer infectious even if they had dengue as the virus stays in the blood of patients for only a week after they develop the fever. There have been no more reports of similar cases,”

He said however it was important to know for sure whether or not they had dengue fever which is caused by a virus transmitted by the aedes aegyptii mosquito.

The symptoms include high fever, severe headache, backache, joint and eye pain, nausea and vomiting, and rash. Most people recover without any complications, using pain relievers and bed rest.

As health officials wait for the test results which they say are expected in a week, Minister of Health Mark Scotland chaired an interagency meeting yesterday (26 January) to review the Islands’ preventative measures.

“While dengue is endemic to several Caribbean and Latin American countries, the Cayman Islands have so far been fortunate to have low occurrences of dengue cases due to the excellent control measures of the Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) and the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) as well as the vigilance of the Public Health Department,” Scotland said.

“It is estimated that annually over 100 million dengue cases occur worldwide. It has been reported in many countries in our region Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Trinidad &Tobago and Jamaica.” he said.

Staff from the MRCU and DEH have confirmed that their departments are already taking extra measures to control the aedes aegyptii mosquito.

“People can greatly assist in reducing the local aedes aegyptii population by clearing their yards of containers that can hold water as these are favourite breeding sites for this mosquito,” MRCU Director Dr. William Petrie said.

For more advice on how to control mosquitoes in your yard contact the MRCU on 949-2557 in Grand Cayman or 948-2223 on Cayman Brac; and DEH on 949-6696 in Grand Cayman or 948-2321 in Cayman Brac.

Dengue Fever Facts:

What is Dengue Fever? Dengue fever is a disease caused by a virus that is transmitted by mosquitoes.  It is an acute illness with fever, headache, muscle aches, joint paints, pain behind the eyes and rash. Some cases can be very mild while others can show disorders in blood clotting which can result in internal bleeding. This is called the hemorrhagic form. The hemorrhagic form of dengue fever is more severe and is associated with loss of appetite, vomiting, high fever, headache and abdominal pain.

How prevalent is dengue? It is estimated that over 100 million cases occur worldwide each year. It has become a major international public health concern. It is prevalent in many countries in the Caribbean as well as Central and South America including Jamaica, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Guyana and Puerto Rico. Dengue is not endemic to the Cayman Islands. We do have imported cases from time to time. Currently three cases are under investigation for dengue.

How is dengue fever spread? The aedes aegyptii mosquito gets infected by biting the dengue patient in the first week of illness. It takes about eight to twelve days for the virus to multiply before the infected mosquito can pass it on to others. Aedes aegyptii is a daytime biter with peak activity in the late afternoon. It cannot be spread directly from one person to another.

How soon do symptoms occur? Dengue fever can develop from three to fifteen days after the bite of an infected mosquito, commonly within five to six days. An infected person can be a source of dengue virus for mosquitoes for about five to six days after onset of fever.

How is dengue diagnosed? Doctors do suspect the possibility of dengue based on clinical symptoms and signs and confirmation is by a blood test. It takes about five to ten days for the results from overseas laboratories, and attimes a repeat test is needed two weeks after the first test.

What is the treatment for dengue fever? No specific treatment for dengue fever exists, and most people recover without complications using pain relievers and bed rest. Aspirin should be avoided.

How can dengue be prevented?

Avoid getting bit by mosquitoes:

Use mosquito repellents on skin and clothing.

When outdoors during times that mosquitoes are biting, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks.

When indoors, stay in air-conditioned or screened areas.

What should I do if I am diagnosed with dengue fever? Follow the treatment as prescribed by your doctor and protect yourself from mosquito bites as described above.

Source: Public Health Department, 28 January 2010.

Category: Health

Comments (7)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I have a burning sensation when I pee. Is this a symptom?

  2. Ignore this says:

    Mac has issued an official statement on this issue:

    "Do not tell foreign news organisations about this.  Deny everything.  There is no dengue.  Nothing like it.  Tourists come and spend your dollars."

  3. Anonymous says:

    How much does it cost to run the MRCU?

    • Anonymous says:

      Less than it will cost to deal with the diseases spread by mosquitoes.

    • Anonymous says:

       

       
       Hi all Regards to the Denque,
       
      there was ageltleman who was sick just before Christmas he went to the George Town Hospital they could not find out what was wrong with him, he left for his home country witch is Honduras just as he got in the doctors office in Honduras they could tell him his ddiagnose what was wrong with him, he treated for the Denque over in Honduras and now back living on the Island here. 
       
  4. Anonymous says:

    Yes, the Mosquito control unit do a damn fine job and we’ve sorely missed them this year, (pun intended due to numerous mozzie bites). 

    We begged them not to stop spraying when the government announced they would cease/cut-back.  We told them this (Dengue) would happen but as usual they didn’t listen.  (Just search the archives on this site and its all there).

    Many of us suffer severe flooding on our properties for months at a time each year, and when there’s standing water in numerous locations all over the entire island, I swear, what good will emptying one bucket of water in the yard do when looking at the bigger picture?