The British Virgin Islands and the entire Caribbean are being warned that the frequent scattered showers that are being experienced is cause for concern as the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is predicting a dengue breakout for this year.
The announcement was made last week as the BVI and the rest of the region observed Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week 2018. It was in his statement in observance of the week that CARPHA Executive Director, Dr C. James Hospedales forecasted the return of dengue.
Dengue is a flu-like illness that affects infants, young children and adults, but can be severe and cause death. Symptoms typically begin four to ten days after infection. This may include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash. This illness can evolve to severe dengue, characterized by potentially deadly complications due to intense, continuous abdominal pain or tenderness and persistent vomiting.
Dr. Hospedales said: “Although dengue is not new to the Region, we need to gear up for the possibility of a severe outbreak. This virus has been increasing in frequency over the past 30 years. Reports from Latin America elsewhere show markedly increased dengue in recent months, so we in the Caribbean can expect it will soon be here.”
Similar to chikungunya and zika, dengue fever is carried mainly by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Therefore the CARPHA Executive Director is urging the region to begin implementing preventative measures to prevent the anticipated dengue outbreak. “We need to clean up our surroundings. The two most important things to manage mosquito populations in our Caribbean countries are to manage water storage drums and tanks, and properly dispose of used vehicle tires to prevent mosquitos breeding,” stated Dr Hospedales.
Last year December it was reported that cases of dengue were confirmed in the Territory by medical officers. The BVI has been active with its preventative campaign via its campaign called “Project Bug Out.”