Deyalsingh has dengue fever

By Anna-Lisa Paul
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, who embarked on a nationwide drive several months ago to encourage citizens to rid their surroundings of potential breeding sites in order to reduce the spread of mosquito-borne viruses, has contracted the dengue fever virus.

Diagnosed earlier this week, the minister is now one of 23 people nationally to have contracted the virus for the year thus far.

Although he returned to work last Monday, Deyalsingh yesterday said his workload had been greatly reduced as per doctors’ orders.

Saying he was still being monitored, the only visible sign that Deyalsingh was under the weather was reflected in his eyes, which appeared to be glassy and slightly red.

Speaking during yesterday’s weekly media briefing at the Ministry of Health, Port-of-Spain, Deyalsingh was candid as he gave an insight into the health scare which saw him end up at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital for two days.

“I had dengue fever and my platelet count went dangerously low, so the doctors thought it best that I come in there and be monitored so that I don’t bleed out,” Deyalsingh said.

“Sadly, my platelet count is not up to where it should be as yet, so I am still being monitored very, very closely and I am trying to conserve energy as much as possible.”

He said he was told to cut back on official weekend engagements, but noted he had two important conferences he did not want to miss this weekend.

Dispelling media reports that he was a victim of the national drug shortage affecting hospital, he explained, “When treating this type of virus, intervention is not pharmaceutical but monitoring the platelet count with blood tests. If my platelet count had continued to drop dangerously low, then the solution would have been a transfusion intervention, so the reports are slightly exaggerated.”

Deyalsingh, however, declined to say what his platelet count currently was.

President of the T&T Medical Association, Dr Stacey Chamely, explained that a healthy individual’s platelet count should range from 150,000 to 400,000 but that doctors became worried when this drops to below 100 in dengue patients and “really, really worried when it drops below 60.”

Responding to this, Deyalsingh said in his case, “The doctors were very, very worried.”

Chamely recommended paracetamol, fluids and lots of rest in this case. (Trinidad Guardian)

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