If you display dengue fever symptoms, get tested

Sector Health Care Affairs (SHCA) Dengue Action Response Team (DART) are urging members of the community if they display dengue fever symptoms, they should immediately contact their family physician who can then send the person to the lab to get tested to determine if indeed it is dengue fever.

Residents are strongly advised to continue to take urgent preventative measures against mosquito breeding in order to stem any further increase in the number of dengue cases on the island.

Every household has to take urgent measures to limit the breeding ground for mosquitos.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne infection that causes a severe flu-like illness that affects infants, young children and adults, but seldom causes death.

There are three serotypes of dengue circulating on the island, namely DEN-1, DEN-2 and DEN-4. This also increases the risk for Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) which is potentially deadly, and Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS) which if not treated correctly, can lead to profound shock and death.  

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Symptoms of dengue fever are: sudden onset of high fever; severe headache (mostly in the forehead); pain behind the eyes which worsens with eye movement; body aches and joint pains; nausea or vomiting; rash in some cases; an unpleasant metallic taste in the mouth, and loss of appetite. Infants and young children may have a fever with rash.

DHF is a potentially deadly complication that is characterized by high fever, often with enlargement of the liver, and in severe cases circulatory failure. The illness often begins with a sudden rise in temperature accompanied by facial flush and other flu-like symptoms.

The fever usually continues for two to seven days and can be as high as 41 degrees Celsius, possibly with convulsions and other complications. DHF patients may rapidly progress into dengue shock syndrome (DSS), which, if not treated correctly, can lead to profound shock and death.

Early signs of shock include restlessness, cold clammy skin, rapid weak pulse, narrowing of pulse pressure, and hypotension. DHF and DSS can occur in children and adults.

There is no specific treatment for dengue fever, but appropriate medical care frequently saves the lives of patients with the more serious DHF.

Dengue viruses are transmitted to humans through the bites of infective female Aedes Mosquito. The virus is not contagious and cannot be spread directly from person to person. Mosquitoes generally acquire the virus while feeding on the blood of an infected person. After virus incubation for eight to 10 days, an infected mosquito is capable, during probing and blood feeding, of transmitting the virus for the rest of its life. The average life span of an Aedes mosquito in nature is two weeks.

Infected humans are the main carriers and multipliers of the virus, serving as a source of the virus for uninfected mosquitoes.

Anyone requiring information concerning measures to prevent mosquito breeding or to report areas of stagnant water, overgrown vegetation etc should immediately call the Hygiene Department at 542-2079.