One dengue fever case confirmed, says Public Health

| 04/10/2011

(CNS): The first dengue case reported in the Cayman Islands for 2011 has been confirmed by public health officials, who say it was  most probably imported from the Bahamas by a returning resident. Last year there was a total of seven confirmed cases (two imported and five with no travel history). In 2008 and 2009 there were only two imported cases each year. So far this year, Caribbean countries have reported 47 confirmed dengue fever cases, with the Bahamas and Aruba having especially high incidence rates, according to Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) statistics. More than 1000 cases with dengue like symptoms were reported in the Bahamas.

“With the current rash of cases in the region, medical personnel are on high alert to look for any local cases,” Medical Officer of Health Dr Kiran Kumar said.

In this regard, the Public Health Department has already issueda travel advisory two weeks ago (22 September) as part of its heightened surveillance for local presence of the disease.

“While dengue fever is not endemic to the Cayman Islands, as there is no sustained transmission of the disease, it is always wise to avoid mosquito bites by covering up at sunrise and sunset when the dengue carrier, the aedes aegyptii mosquito is the most active,” noted Dr Kumar. “While we need to be alert, and take preventative measures, we need not be alarmed of one case. For aedes mosquito to transmit dengue, they must bite infected persons, otherwise they can’t,” he emphasized.

He also reminded the public that they can help reduce the aedes aegyptii population locally, by clearing yards of containers that can hold water, as these are favourite breeding sites.

Most people recover without any complications, using pain relievers and bed rest. Once a patient has developed a fever, the infectious period lasts for one week only. Dengue symptoms include:  high fever, severe headache, backache, joint and eye pain, nausea and vomiting, and rash.

Countries in our region who reported having dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever are: Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil,  Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela.

For more advice on mosquito control, contact 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.

Category: Health

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