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Antilles monitoring the dengue situation closely

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Antilles monitoring the dengue situation closely

Antilles monitoring the dengue situation closely

~ 53 confirmed cases ~

The Daily Herald St. Maarten

Oct. 25, 2007

PHILIPSBURG--As some parts of the Caribbean and Latin America continue their efforts to stem the tide of dengue cases, the Netherlands Antilles is keeping a close eye on the situation.

Of the 269 lab tests for dengue done in the Netherlands Antilles between January and early October, 165 were suspected dengue cases, 53 were confirmed to be dengue fever and one case in Curaçao was confirmed to be dengue hemorrhagic fever.

The report Update Dengue Fever 2007 compiled by the Curaçao-based Epidemiology and Research Unit shows that no lab tests were done for Saba and St. Eustatius so far this year. According to the report, a total of 25 dengue lab tests were done for St. Maarten between January and early October. Fourteen were suspected cases, four were confirmed to be dengue fever and seven tested negative. The monthly breakdown shows that the highest number of suspected dengue cases for St. Maarten (four) was reported in August, followed by January when three cases were reported. The last confirmed dengue case (one) was in September. The other confirmed cases were in March (two) and July (one).

In Curaçao a total of 195 tests were done, 37 of which were confirmed dengue cases, 125 were suspected cases, 32 were negative and one was confirmed dengue hemorrhagic fever. In Bonaire a total of 49 tests were done, 12 of which were confirmed dengue fever, 26 were suspected cases and 11 tested negative. The data for the report were compiled thorough a laboratory-based surveillance system, a collaboration between Analytic Diagnostic Centre (ADC) and the Epidemiology and Research Unit of the Medical and Public Health Services.

Head of the Preventative Section of Sector Health Care Affairs in St. Maarten Dr. Rachel Eersel, who had stated earlier that 11 suspected cases had been reported via the local health surveillance system, said the figures in the report did not show any alarming trends in St. Maarten. She had said earlier that some 11 suspected cases of dengue had been reported on the island for the entire year 2006. The figures in the report, Eersel said, are from lab tests done by the ADC lab in St. Maarten and do not include figures from French St. Martin. She said some people went to the French side for their tests and SHCA was working with French St. Martin health authorities to get a clearer picture of the number of cases for both sides of the island. She said a close eye was being kept on the situation.

Head of the Veterinary and Hygiene Department Tony Boyrard had told this newspaper in an earlier interview that the current weather conditions were not favourable for fumigating. “We are monitoring everything and it doesn’t make sense to do fumigation at the moment,” Boyrard had said, “because when it rains the residue of the insecticide that will be left on trees will be washed away and won’t have any real effect. If we fumigate right now we also risk the mosquitoes developing a resistance to the insecticide and if we do get a dengue outbreak here it will be twice as difficult to control it.” Boyrard had said fogging would start as soon as weather conditions permitted. (Judy Fitzpatrick)

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1. Re: Antilles monitoring the dengue situation closely

I had to look this up..........guess precaution is the best preventative.


Dengue [DEN-ghee] is a flu-like viral disease spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes. Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a severe, often fatal, complication of dengue.

Dengue occurs in most tropical areas of the world. Most U.S. cases occur in travelers returning from abroad, but the dengue risk is increasing for persons living along the Texas-Mexico border and in other parts of the southern United States.

There is no specific treatment for dengue.

Prevention centers on avoiding mosquito bites in areas where dengue occurs or might occur and eliminating breeding sites.

What is dengue fever? What is dengue hemorrhagic fever?

Dengue fever is a flu-like illness spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a severe, often fatal, complication of dengue fever.

What is the infectious agent that causes dengue?

Dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever are caused by any of the dengue family of viruses. Infection with one virus does not protect a person against infection with another.

How is dengue spread?

Dengue is spread by the bite of an Aedes mosquito. The mosquito transmits the disease by biting an infected person and then biting someone else.

Where is dengue found?

Dengue viruses occur in most tropical areas of the world. Dengue is common in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Australia, and the Americas. It is widespread in the Caribbean basin. Dengue is most common in cities but can be found in rural areas. It is rarely found in mountainous areas above 4,000 feet.

The mosquitoes that transmit dengue live among humans and breed in discarded tires, flower pots, old oil drums, and water storage containers close to human dwellings. Unlike the mosquitoes that cause malaria, dengue mosquitoes bite during the day.

What are the signs and symptoms of dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever?

Dengue fever usually starts suddenly with a high fever, rash, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, and muscle and joint pain. The severity of the joint pain has given dengue the name "breakbone fever." Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite are common. A rash usually appears 3 to 4 days after the start of the fever. The illness can last up to 10 days, but complete recovery can take as long as a month. Older children and adults are usually sicker than young children.

Most dengue infections result in relatively mild illness, but some can progress to dengue hemorrhagic fever. With dengue hemorrhagic fever, the blood vessels start to leak and cause bleeding from the nose, mouth, and gums. Bruising can be a sign of bleeding inside the body. Without prompt treatment, the blood vessels can collapse, causing shock (dengue shock syndrome). Dengue hemorrhagic fever is fatal in about 5 percent of cases, mostly among children and young adults.

How soon after exposure do symptoms appear?

The time between the bite of a mosquito carrying dengue virus and the start of symptoms averages 4 to 6 days, with a range of 3 to 14 days. An infected person cannot spread the infection to other persons but can be a source of dengue virus for mosquitoes for about 6 days.

How is dengue diagnosed?

Dengue is diagnosed by a blood test.

Who is at risk for dengue?

Anyone who is bitten by an infected mosquito can get dengue fever. Risk factors for dengue hemorrhagic fever include a person's age and immune status, as well as the type of infecting virus. Persons who were previously infected with one or more types of dengue virus are thought to be at greater risk for developing dengue hemorrhagic fever if infected again.

What is the treatment for dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever?

There is no specific treatment for dengue. Persons with dengue fever should rest and drink plenty of fluids. They should be kept away from mosquitoes for the protection of others. Dengue hemorrhagic fever is treated by replacing lost fluids. Some patients need transfusions to control bleeding.

How common is dengue?

In tropical countries around the world, dengue is one of the most common viral diseases spread to humans by mosquitoes. Tens of millions of cases of dengue fever and up to hundreds of thousands of cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever occur each year.

In the United States, approximately 100 cases of dengue are reported each year in travelers returning from tropical areas. Many more cases probably go unreported. A few persons have become infected with dengue while living in the United States. Aedes mosquitoes are found in Texas, Florida, and other southern states, and locally acquired dengue has been reported three times since 1980 in southern Texas.

Is dengue an emerging infectious disease?

Yes. All types of dengue virus are re-emerging worldwide and causing larger and more frequent epidemics, especially in cities in the tropics. The emergence of dengue as a major public health problem has been most dramatic in the western hemisphere. Dengue fever has reached epidemic levels in Central America and is threatening the United States.

Several factors are contributing to the resurgence of dengue fever:

No effective mosquito control efforts are underway in most countries with dengue.

Public health systems to detect and control epidemics are deteriorating around the world.

Rapid growth of cities in tropical countries has led to overcrowding, urban decay, and substandard sanitation, allowing more mosquitoes to live closer to more people.

The increase in non-biodegradable plastic packaging and discarded tires is creating new breeding sites for mosquitoes.

Increased jet air travel is helping people infected with dengue viruses to move easily from city to city.

Dengue hemorrhagic fever is also on the rise. Persons who have been infected with one or more forms of dengue virus are at greater risk for the more severe disease. With the increase in all types of virus, the occurrence of dengue hemorrhagic fever becomes more likely.

How can dengue be prevented?

There is no vaccine to prevent dengue. Prevention centers on avoiding mosquito bites when traveling to areas where dengue occurs and when in U.S. areas, especially along the Texas-Mexico border, where dengue might occur. Eliminating mosquito breeding sites in these areas is another key prevention measure.

Avoid mosquito bites when traveling in tropical areas:

Use mosquito repellents on skin and clothing.

When outdoors during times that mosquitoes are biting, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks.

Avoid heavily populated residential areas.

When indoors, stay in air-conditioned or screened areas. Use bednets if sleeping areas are not screened or air-conditioned.

If you have symptoms of dengue, report your travel history to your doctor.

Eliminate mosquito breeding sites in areas where dengue might occur:

Eliminate mosquito breeding sites around homes. Discard items that can collect rain or run-off water, especially old tires.

Regularly change the water in outdoor bird baths and pet and animal water containers.


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2. Re: Antilles monitoring the dengue situation closely

This sounds so similar to the West Nile Virus.

3. Re: Antilles monitoring the dengue situation closely

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