The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment is warning that there is a dengue fever outbreak in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as the disease may have caused up to four (4) deaths recently.
In a release to the public today, the health authorities confirmed that the Dengue Fever outbreak first reported in July 2020 continues to increase with 306 laboratory confirmed cases up to September 11, 2020.
The Kingstown, Georgetown and Pembroke health districts have recorded the highest incidences accounting for over 65% of all known cases. Speculation in the public is rife that the number of cases far exceeds the official figure as many persons do not present themselves to be tested at medical facilities, utilising instead homemade treatments.
The ministry is concerned that “51.3% of the persons affected are in the age group 0-15 years.” While dengue fever is mostly a mild febrile illness lasting five to seven days, requiring only regular does of paracetamol and oral fluids as treatment, it can also result in serious illness. Persons with pain behind their eyes, severe vomiting, abnormal bleeding and dizziness may be showing symptoms of exposure requiring medical attention.
One elderly female who died was confirmed on laboratory diagnosis to have had Dengue Fever. Two young males died without a clear link to the disease but showed symptoms. Another person died before results could be confirmed. Covid-19 is not suspected in any the reported deaths.
In response, officials have made available a section of the Argyle Isolation Facility which was built to house and treat Covid-19 patients to monitor patients with suspected dengue fever.
Increased fogging by the Vector Control Unit continues with a focus on schools and health facilities. The public is reminded of the importance of reducing their exposure to the mosquito which causes dengue by:
*reducing the breeding of the mosquito by discarding or covering properly collected water
*reducing rubbish and over grown bush
*wearing light coloured clothes with long pants and sleeves
*using insect repellent
*opening homes to allow increased effectiveness of fogging by the Vector control unit.