Slight Increase In Dengue Fever

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Cases of Dengue Fever were up slightly for the first 10 weeks of this year, compared to the same period last year.

Figures from the Ministry of Health indicate that there were 53 confirmed cases of Dengue at the beginning of this year, whereas, 45 cases were recorded for the corresponding period in 2011.?? There were 206 cases, in total, last year.

Health officials reported that to date, the Type 1 serotype has been predominant in patients seen for 2012, while the Type 2 serotype was the dominant one last year. There are four Dengue serotypes (Types 1, 2, 3 and 4). Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever usually results from a second infection from a different serotype.

The number of people hospitalised with the condition, which is spread by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, was also up this year compared to the previous year. Of the 53 cases confirmed this year, 10 people were hospitalised, including one with Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever. In 2011, there were four hospitalisations – two for Dengue Fever, and two as a result of Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever.

The Ministry also released figures for Leptospirosis cases for the first 10 weeks of this year. There were five confirmed cases and three hospitalisations compared to one confirmed case and no hospitalisations for the same period in 2011. A total of 43 individuals contracted the disease last year.

To control the spread of Dengue Fever, Barbadians are reminded to check their premises for possible mosquito breeding places and to cover water containers such as buckets, small plastic containers and drums; or to dispose of them in a proper manner, in order to reduce mosquito breeding.????????

The Ministry of Health is urging Barbadians who are experiencing symptoms of Dengue Fever, including sudden high fever, severe headaches, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain; or symptoms of Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever such as, bleeding from the nose, mouth and gums, frequent vomiting or difficulty breathing to seek medical attention at once.

Health officials also recommend the following measures be taken to prevent leptospirosis: wear fully covered shoes, gloves, long sleeved shirts and face masks or goggles when handling animals and when in contact with animal fluids or secretions, or contaminated soil or feed. Persons should also cover all cuts and abrasions with waterproof dressings. Hand washing and showering after contact with potentially contaminated soils, fluids, animals or carcasses is also recommended.

The public is also advised to use baiting or traps and to clean up workplaces and homes to minimise infestation by potential vectors.?? In addition, clearing of lots and proper garbage disposal should be practised to reduce harbouring of rodents.

Clinical manifestations of leptospirosis include fever, headache, chills, nausea and vomiting, eye inflammation, and muscle aches.?? In more severe cases, the illness can result in liver damage and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), kidney failure and internal bleeding.?? Persons experiencing these symptoms who are at risk for Leptospirosis should seek medical attention immediately.????????

Information on how to handle vector control or Dengue Fever and Leptospirosis prevention issues may be obtained by calling the Ministry of Health at 467-9366 or the Polyclinics at the following numbers: Branford Taitt Polyclinic, 438-9624; Maurice Byer Polyclinic, 422-5052; Randal Phillips Polyclinic, 428-3324; St. Philip Polyclinic, 423-4572; Warrens Polyclinic, 425-2996 and the Winston Scott Polyclinic, 227-7766.

melissa.rollock@barbados.gov.bb

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