Increased number of dengue fever cases reported in Turks and Caicos

The ministry of health in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) has reported an increase in the number of dengue fever cases as a result of the recent rains in the TCI. This increase is mainly observed on Grand Turk where a total of 14 cases were reported during the period October 29 to November 6, 2016.

In response, the ministry continues to enhance prevention and control measures already in place against diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. These include education, premises inspections, fogging and treating potential breeding sites such as swamps to prevent mosquito breeding.

Dengue fever is a viral illness, which is spread by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. This mosquito is found throughout the Americas, including the TCI. It is found in and around homes, workplaces, and schools.

Symptoms of dengue fever include fever, muscle and joint pains, excessive tiredness, headache and pain behind the eyes. Nausea and vomiting may also occur. A rare severe form of dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever, presents with episodes of bleeding. The public is advised to seek medical attention at the nearest clinic facility if any of these symptoms are experienced.

There is no vaccine to prevent dengue fever. Treatment is given to minimise the symptoms being experienced as a result of the infection. Persons who think they have dengue should use analgesics (pain relievers) with acetaminophen and avoid those containing ibuprofen, Naproxen, aspirin or aspirin containing drugs. They should also rest, drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and avoid mosquito bites while febrile. The majority of persons recover within five to fourteen days.

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