Significant jump in dengue cases

The Ministry of Health is reporting a significant increase in the number of confirmed dengue cases. The parishes of St David, St George and St Andrew have recorded a combined number of 29 cases in week 38 when compared to week 37 when there were only 9 cases.

Epidemiological week number 38 covers 6 to 12 September 2020, and 43 public and 17 private facilities reporting sites. “A marked increase in dengue cases has been observed as the outbreak progresses. Dengue type 3 was confirmed by CARPHA for a case reported in Epidemiological Week 37 from the district of St David,” said the Weekly Communicable Disease Surveillance Report.

According to the report, the total number of cases for the year 2020 so far is 118, which almost surpasses the total cases for 2019 where 123 people were diagnosed from January to December 2019.

According to the World Health Organisation, “The virus responsible for causing dengue, is called dengue virus (DENV). There are 4 DENV serotypes, meaning that it is possible to be infected 4 times.” Key facts include:

§ While many DENV infections produce only mild illness, DENV can cause an acute flu-like illness. Occasionally this develops into a potentially lethal complication, called severe dengue.

§ There is no specific treatment for dengue/severe dengue. Early detection of disease progression associated with severe dengue, and access to proper medical care lowers fatality rates of severe dengue to below 1%.

§ Dengue is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide, mostly in urban and semi-urban areas.

§ Dengue prevention and control depends on effective vector control measures. Sustained community involvement can improve vector control efforts substantially.

Dengue should be suspected when a high fever (40°C/104°F) is accompanied by 2 of the following symptoms during the febrile phase:

§ severe headache

§ pain behind the eyes

§ muscle and joint pains

§ nausea

§ vomiting

§ swollen glands

§ rash.

The WHO site states: “Dengue has distinct epidemiological patterns, associated with the four serotypes of the virus. These can co-circulate within a region, and indeed many countries are hyper-endemic for all four serotypes. Dengue has an alarming impact on both human health and the global and national economies. DENV is frequently transported from one place to another by infected travellers; when susceptible vectors are present in these new areas, there is the potential for local transmission to be established.”

Health Minister, Nickolas Steele, said that the ministry will be increase its fogging operations, and urged people to clean up their surrounding areas. Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection.

The increase in the number of cases comes at the same time that neighbouring St Vincent and the Grenadines has an outbreak of dengue which has claimed the lives of at least 2 people.

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