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Dengue Update 8 November 2019

• Since the last update on November 4, 2019, 25 additional results have been received from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) confirming seven new cases of dengue in the Cayman Islands.

• Of these seven new cases, two patients had travelled to a country with year-round transmission of dengue, while five had no travel history, which suggests that person acquired dengue within the Cayman Islands.

• This brings the total number of confirmed dengue results (since the first locally transmitted case in October 2019), to nine locally transmitted and six imported cases.

• To date confirmed cases have been distributed between East End, George Town, West Bay and Bodden Town.

• Since the start of the year the Cayman Islands has sent a total of 116 samples to CARPHA to be investigated for dengue.

• Of that number, 28 persons were admitted to the Cayman Islands Hospital and Health City, Cayman Islands showing clinical symptoms that might potentially be dengue.

The Public Health Department’s Surveillance Unit continues to deploy systematic and enhanced surveillance measures, working closely with government and private sector physicians to review reports of suspected dengue.

For more information, contact the Public Health Department on 244-2648. For advice on mosquito control, contact MRCU on 949-2557 in Grand Cayman, or 948-2223 on Cayman Brac; and Department of Environmental Health on 949-6696 in Grand Cayman, or 948-2321 in Cayman Brac.

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Editors’ Notes:

Transmission, infection, treatment

• The dengue virus is an infectious disease that causes cyclical outbreaks every three years or so, and is transmitted through the bite of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitos.

• Symptoms may come on as early as four days or as late as three weeks following an infection.

• There is no vaccine or specific medication to treat dengue.

Prevention

• People travelling to countries where dengue is transmitted year-round should take preventative measures such as:

o using a repellent,

o wearing protective clothing, and

o staying indoors during early dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

Symptoms

• Symptoms of dengue include:

o high fever

o headache,

o pain behind the eyes,

o joint and muscle pain, and,

o rash (may not be visible on dark-skinned persons).

• If persons have any of these symptoms they should go to the nearest health centre or hospital. It is advised to drink lots of liquids and avoid medication that contains Aspirin.

Controlling places where mosquitoes breed

• Controlling the places where mosquitos breed is also vital to keeping insect numbers as low as possible.

• After a rainstorm, persons should quickly remove stagnant water in outdoor and household settings.

• As a weekly habit, persons should change the water in vases, clear the water in saucers under potted plants, and ensure air-conditioner drip trays are free of stagnant water.

• Outdoor objects capable of holding water should be kept empty, and preferably disposed of or put into dry storage if not in used. These include open bottles and tins, watering cans, buckets, empty paint tins and old vehicle tyres.

For further information contact: Suzette Ebanks