By Kamal Haynes, BVI News Staff
The British Virgin Islands is experiencing a spike in the number of reported cases of Dengue Fever, with numbers tripling since last year.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Irad Potter told BVI News 106 more cases have been reported when compared to the corresponding period last year.
“In 2018, we had about 60 cases being reported to the Ministry of Health from the period of January 1 to August 31. This year, so far, from January 1 up until August 31, we’ve had 166 cases of suspected and confirmed cases,” Dr Potter stated.
Despite the alarming number, Dr Potter said none of the cases have been severe. He also said most of the persons infected with the virus have already been treated.
Mosquito population increases during rainy season
He further told our news centre it is not uncommon to see more cases of dengue during this time of year.
“What normally happens when we have the rainy season beginning is that you get the increase in the population of mosquitoes and we tend to get increasing incidents of dengue as well. We (the BVI) have the vectors that transmit dengue — the Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus,” the physician explained.
What are officials doing?
He also said the Health Ministry is already taking steps to prevent the virus from spreading further.
“When we begin to get increasing cases, we go back to surveillance and we try to determine which communities are having issues with the disease. Then based on that, we would go and do surveillance on the properties where the people live and get them to reduce any breeding on their premises and if we are having a big problem, we would get to do some fogging to kill the other mosquitoes,” Dr Potter said.
In the meantime, residents are being reminded to take the necessary precautions to help reduce the chances of the virus being transmitted.
These include inspecting premises to ensure no mosquito breeding sites are present, removing and treating any breeding sites found upon inspection, and using mosquito repellant to minimize chances of being bitten by the insect.
What is Dengue?
Dengue is an infection caused by a virus spread by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. There are four dengue viruses called Dengue Type One, Two, Three, and Four. You can only be infected by each “type” once in your lifetime.
Symptoms usually identified with Dengue Fever include a sudden onset of fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle pains, bone or joint pain, skin rash, vomiting, or the ‘feeling to vomit’.
Persons with severe Dengue may have all the aforementioned symptoms in addition to severe belly pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding from the mouth, nose or other unusual places, bloody or black and sticky stool, feeling faint, low energy or restlessness, small bleeding spots under the skin, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
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