A 10-year-old girl with an underlying heart condition is the seventh person to die here as a direct result of severe dengue fever.
A release from the Ministry of Health said that the girl was admitted to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital on November 14 and on died on Friday, November 20 from severe dengue fever.
A total of 1617 laboratory confirmed cases of dengue fever has been recorded as at November 14. This is 462 more cases than was recorded as at October 14, exactly one month prior.
But the Ministry of Health’s release, which is dated November 23, indicates that the rate at which dengue fever is spreading in this country, has consistently decreased in the past five weeks.
“There has been a consistent decrease in the number of laboratory-confirmed cases of dengue fever since epidemiological week 41, the week ending 194 cases were recorded. There has also been a decrease in clinically diagnosed cases of dengue fever,” the release said
Based on the figures, it means that an average of 92 cases has been recorded on a weekly basis since mid-October – over 100 fewer cases than at the week ending on October 10.
“The Vector Control Unit of the Environmental Health Department of the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment continues to implement an intensified integrated vector control programme aimed at reducing the mosquito which spreads the dengue virus, through source reduction,” the release said.
It also noted that “an increased number of fogging teams has allowed for more frequent fogging with larvicidal agents in all communities in a targeted manner. The effectiveness of these interventions is confirmed by the reduction in the mosquito breeding indices throughout the country in the first half of November when compared with the month of October 2020”.
The mosquito borne disease continues to affect all health districts, with most cases reported as occurring in persons who live in the Pembroke, Kingstown and Calliaqua Health Districts. The Marriaqua and Chateaubelair Health Districts are now ranked as 4th and 5th for the number of reported cases of Dengue Fever. Persons in the 0-15-year-old age group continue to account for the majority of cases, with an attack rate of 3.54 per cent in the 5-14-year age group.
Persons who have pre-existing conditions such as sickle cell disease, kidney problems or heart disease or who previously had dengue fever, zika, or are children of mothers who had dengue during their pregnancy, are at increased risk to develop severe dengue fever.
These individuals and their guardians are asked to consistently utilize measures known to reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes and to be aware of the warning signs of severe dengue.
Symptoms of dengue fever include fever, headache with pain behind the eyes, a rash, abdominal pain, vomiting and bleeding.
Home treatments for the vector-borne disease should focus on reducing the fever by using cool, not cold baths; paracetamol, not ibuprofen and maintaining hydration by drinking lots of fluids such as coconut water.
The early and consistent use of the papaya leaf extract for five days in persons with dengue fever symptoms is also encouraged.