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Cayman Islands Government

Suspected Dengue Probed

aedes aegyptii

Public health officials have sent blood samples to the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) in Trinidad to test for possible dengue fever after three residents were hospitalized earlier this month.

"The Cayman Islands Hospital admitted three patients, all suffering from acute viral infections. 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," Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar reiterated.

Even so, it is still important to know for sure whether or not they had dengue, he explained.

The symptoms of dengue are 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.

Dengue fever is caused by a virus which is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected aedes aegyptii mosquito.

While public health officials wait for the test results due in a week, Minister of Health the Hon. 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," Minister 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.

Reporting to the minister, MRCU and DEH staff 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.

(GIS)

For further information contact: Cornelia Oliver