Dengue fever is no joke. Having had it once (a fairly “mild” form) some 20 years ago, I could never go through that nightmare again. Sadly, someone has died from a suspected case of dengue hemorraghic fever, which is not so common but very serious.
Here is a note from the Ministry of Health, reminding us to be vigilant with mosquito breeding sites around the home. The weather is extremely dry in Kingston at the moment, so we have had very few mosquitoes, but a shower of rain will bring them out. Meanwhile, I understand that the USAID-funded Zika AIRS Project (ZAP/Jamaica) will be re-launching soon. This involves house-to-house visits by the “ZAPpers” to check possible breeding places for the aedes aegyptii mosquito that spreads dengue fever as well as the zika and chikungunya viruses that we have suffered from in recent years.
Please take care! As I said, these mosquito-borne diseases are not to be taken lightly – especially if you are an older person, a child or your immune system is weak. And of course, go to the doctor if you feel unwell.
Ministry Confirms Suspected Case of Dengue Fever
The Ministry of Health has confirmed a report of a suspected dengue hemorrhagic fever-related death in late August of an adult male from the parish of Trelawny.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease that is usually a mild illness in which a person may get a fever, headache, joint, and muscle pains. Rest and adequate hydration are usually enough to see one through the period of illness. The recommended treatment for the fever is acetaminophen/paracetamol. The Ministry urges members of the public not to use aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, or any of the medications/pain relievers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs, when used to treat the fever in dengue, have been known to increase the severity of the disease.
Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) is a rare complication of dengue fever and results in internal bleeding and bleeding under the skin, which can lead to death. Immediate medical attention should be sought once an infected person begins to vomit, have severe abdominal pain, develop a petechial* rash, feel very weak, or get confused.
In keeping with trends in recent years, the Ministry expects that the number of cases of mosquito-borne diseases will increase in late August to October. In anticipation of this, the Ministry has begun mosquito-control activities, including a public education campaign, home inspections, destruction of breeding sites and fogging.
Below the Epidemic Threshold
So far, the number of dengue cases remains below the epidemic threshold, that is, within expected levels and the Ministry will continue to monitor reports of mosquito-borne diseases through its national epidemiological surveillance system.
Members of the public are encouraged to play their part in ensuring that the cases are minimized by monitoring water storage containers for mosquito breeding; keeping surroundings free of debris; destroying or treating potential mosquito breeding sites; wearing protective clothing; using a DEET-containing mosquito repellent and, as much as possible, staying indoors at dusk with windows and doors closed.
* Tiny purple, red or brown spots on the skin.
Contact: Stephen Davidson, Director of Public Relations & Communications, Ministry of Health. Tel: 876 770-4257.