Dengue Outbreak in St. Thomas and St. John

The number of reported cases of dengue fever in St. Thomas and St. John district has climbed to 66. St. Croix has not confirmed any cases of the mosquito-borne virus. The St. Thomas-St. John district has had at least one confirmed death from dengue hemorrhagic fever. See excerpts with a link to the full article below:

On Thursday, DOH Epidemiologist Dr. Eugene Tull reiterated that people can die from dengue if they don’t seek immediate care. “Compounding this dengue fever outbreak is a flu outbreak, symptoms of which mirror dengue fever,” Tull said.

Symptoms of dengue fever include persistent headache, joint and muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. More complicated cases of dengue fever can result in dengue hemorrhagic fever and, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who have had dengue fever in the past are more susceptible to dengue hemorrhagic fever. Dengue hemorrhagic fever is characterized by high fever, bleeding and circulatory failure that may result in death.

Residents have been urged to scour their yards after heavy rains to empty water from man-made receptacles in an effort to prevent their homes from being a haven for the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the dengue virus from person to person via a bite. “On average, it takes about a week before an infected mosquito can transmit the virus when it bites another person,” Tull said.

Although dengue is usually contracted inside the home, the Environmental Health Division continues to fog areas territory-wide as part of its mosquito abatement program. Environmental Health staff conducted fogging on St. John on Tuesday and on St. Thomas on Wednesday and Thursday on St. Croix. The schedule for October is as follows, but is subject to change: Oct. 12 and 28-St. Croix; Oct. 13 and 27-St. Thomas; and Oct. 14 and 26-St. John.

For U.S. Virgin Islands residents: To report dengue fever cases, health care providers are urged to call (340) 773-1311, ext. 3241. To report large pools of stagnant water, contact the Environmental Health Division on St. Croix at (340) 773-1311, Ext. 3109 and on St. Thomas at (340) 774-9000, Ext. 4641 or dial 715-5111.

For more information on dengue fever, visit www.healthvi.org, http://www.cdc.gov/ and http://www.cdc.gov/dengue/entomologyEcology/index.html

For full article, see http://stcroixsource.com/content/news/local-news/2010/10/01/dengue-widespread-st-thomas-st-john-none-st-croix

Image of dengue virus from http://www.pnas.org/content/100/12/6899/F2.expansion.html

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