46 persons hospitalized with Dengue
Forty-six people with laboratory confirmed Dengue have been hospitalized so far this year, during an “above normal increase” in cases; says the Ministry of Health.
As at July 25, the number of reported cases of Dengue, a mosquito-borne viral infection, was 48. However, as at August 25, the number of laboratory confirmed cases had climbed to 74.
“This increase is not typical for this period and Vincentians are urged to take the requisite precautions to prevent further spread of the illness,” the Ministry of Health urged in a release sent yesterday, August 27.
The ministry stated that the cases confirmed for the year so far are not confined to a particular health district, but “the majority of cases have been reported in the Pembroke Health District which includes communities between Campden Park and Barrouallie.”
Those confirmed to have Dengue have been between six months to 86 years old.
While the Health Ministry indicates that 46 cases have resulted in hospitalization, the severity of their condition was not mentioned.
Additionally, the number of laboratory confirmed cases is not necessarily reflective of the overall number of cases.
Symptoms of Dengue may begin four to ten days after infection.
Furthermore, SEARCHLIGHT spoke with one older gentleman from Vermont who has been confirmed to have Dengue. However, although his wife also has the same symptoms as he does, she was never confirmed to have Dengue.
When they went to a clinic after falling ill, the two were told by the doctor that several persons in the Vermont area had been diagnosed.
The symptoms that the two experienced were joint pain, listlessness and a high fever.
The Ministry has advised that symptoms of the virus include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a skin rash. However, when Dengue takes a more serious turn, it can be deadly.
“Persistent fever, vomiting, and abdominal pain or tenderness, or bleeding, are warning signs which suggest that dengue fever disease is taking a more severe course,” the Health authorities state.
Persons with these symptoms are being advised to seek medical attention immediately as “severe dengue may cause death.”
Those infected should take painkillers but avoid medicines containing Aspirin, as this may “worsen bleeding”.
“Adequate rest and hydration are also important,” health officials advise.
This was so in the case of the Vermont residents, who were so dehydrated they were kept on drips for an entire day.
Prevention of the proliferation of Dengue lies in eliminating the breeding sites for the mosquitos, and preventing being bitten by them. In order to prevent mosquito bites, the Health Ministry
recommends, “using insect repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, IR 3535 and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, and wearing long sleeves and long pants as well as light colored clothing.
Elimination of breeding sites includes, “Properly covering water storage containers such as buckets, drums and tanks, removing stagnant water sources such as old tires, bottles, bottle caps, empty coconut shells and buckets from around homes and communities in an effort to destroy all possible mosquito breeding sites, cleaning guttering, sealing septic tanks, scrubbing the walls of frequently used water containers to remove mosquito eggs and regularly changing water in animal and pet containers.”
Research by the Caribbean Public Healthy Agency (CARPHA) and the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) shows that drums and tyres are the main breeding sources in our country.
However, the Vermont resident has indicated that a week and a half before he was diagnosed with Dengue, the Environmental and Health unit examined their property, and found no breeding sites.
The individual recalls seeing ‘fogging’ (a technique used for killing insects that involves using a fine pesticide spray which is directed by a blower) being done once in Vermont.
The Ministry itself assures that it, “has intensified vector control measures and continues to closely monitor vector activity and syndromes related to dengue fever.”