The Ministry of Health, Agriculture and Human Services wishes to inform the general public that there has been an increase in the number of Dengue Fever Cases as a result of the recent rains in the Turks and Caicos Islands. This increase is mainly observed on Grand Turk where a total of 14 cases were reported during the period October 29 to November 6, 2016.
In response, the Ministry continues to enhance prevention and control measures already in place against diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. These include education, premises inspections, fogging and treating potential breeding sites such as swamps to prevent mosquito breeding.
Dengue fever is a viral illness, which is spread by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. This mosquito is found throughout the Americas, including the TCI. It is found in and around our homes, workplaces, and schools.
Symptoms of dengue fever include fever, muscle and joint pains, excessive tiredness, headache and pain behind the eyes. Nausea and vomiting may also occur. A rare severe form of dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever, presents with episodes of bleeding. The public is advised to seek medical attention at the nearest clinic facility if any of these symptoms are experienced.
There is no vaccine to prevent dengue fever. Treatment is given to minimise the symptoms being experienced as a result of the infection. Persons who think they have dengue should use analgesics (pain relievers) with acetaminophen and avoid those containing ibuprofen, Naproxen, aspirin or aspirin containing drugs. They should also rest, drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and avoid mosquito bites while febrile. The majority of persons recover within five to fourteen days.
To protect yourself and your family, the Ministry advises persons in the TCI to take the following precautions:
- Prevent mosquitoes breeding in and around your home by keeping your environment clean by checking your gutters, removing standing water, emptying old flower vases and tires and other containers which may collect water and might act as breeding sites. It is also essential to cover water drums and barrels.
- Avoid being bitten by wearing loose long-sleeved shirts and long pants, applying insect repellents to exposed skin and use mosquito nets when sleeping.
- Use safe household insecticides indoors.
- Have intact window and door screens in dwellings.
The Ministry will keep the public updated on any new developments. For more information, contact the Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit on (649) 338- 2772.