Dengue is alive and well in the Territory, nevertheless it was mentioned that persons who are infected with the disease are not going to the hospital for treatment. This nonchalant behavior of some dengue infected persons is worrying health officials who outlined that this can have certain negative effects.
The concern was raised by Epidemiologist within the Government of the Virgin Islands Harmony Brewley during her appearance on the Umoja radio show on 5 December that is aired on ZBVI.
While noting that the matter is a situation of concern for health officials in the Territory Ms. Brewley said, “Right now wev have actually been seeing an increase in dengue, at least in the reported cases. We do know that there are persons out there with dengue who have not gone to see the doctor because they are like – “I am getting the joint pains, I am getting the pain behind my eyes, I’m getting the headaches I probably have dengue; I know what it is I don’t need to go.”
According to epidemiologist Brewley some persons think that they cannot get dengue again because they have had it once: “You should go to the doctors. Persons have this misconception that because they had contracted dengue once nothing else can come. You could get it again and it can be more severe.”
“A lot people don’t realize that you do not build up a life long immunity to dengue. You have different types of dengue.” Further the epidemiologist explained that there are four types of dengue :”When you get bit by a mosquito and let’s say you get dengue from serotype one and you get bitten from another mosquito and let’s say it has serotype four you’re going to get dengue again. Studies have shown that the more you get dengue it actually increases your risk of having severe dengue which can actually cause death,” Ms. Brewley announced.
“Right now, we are actually in the throes of dengue outbreaks. We’re seeing increasing cases across the Caribbean and the countries have different serotypes, so …it means that you go to Antigua and you get bitten by a type three and you bring it back here. We may have type one and two here in the BVI and not type three; and then a mosquito bites you, also bites other people and all of a sudden we have a dengue outbreak. You are not immune to type three dengue,” Brewley explained.
“This is why we need people to be very, very careful and alert and even pay more attention to the messages regarding protecting yourself against mosquito bites. We’re not just saying it because we don’t have anything better to do. We are really trying to protect the health of the community,” the epidemiologist added.