Confirmed cases of dengue fever in Turks and Caicos

The ministry of health, agriculture and human services in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) has advised that, during the period of February 17 – 20, 15 students and one teacher at the HJ Robinson High School in Grand Turk have reported symptoms consistent with dengue fever. Six of the students have tested positive for dengue, while additional results are still pending.

Dengue is a viral infection that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Common symptoms are a high fever accompanied by two or more of the following: headaches, pain behind the eyes, joint pains and muscle pain, nausea and vomiting, swollen glands and a rash.

In more severe cases where the fever stays high one may experience severe abdominal pain, rapid breathing, persistent vomiting, vomiting blood and fatigue and restlessness. Symptoms typically last for approximately two to seven days and can be confused with other viral illnesses such as zika and chikungunya. Dengue has an incubation period of about four to ten days following a bite by an infected mosquito.

There is no specific treatment for dengue and no vaccine is available. Affected persons are encouraged to rest and drink lots of fluids in addition to avoiding further mosquito bites. To reduce fever and pain use Panadol; however, it is NOT recommended that aspirin or Ibuprofen be taken due to the risk of internal bleeding.

In response to the confirmed and suspected dengue cases, the ministry conducted a series of exercises, namely: premises inspection, verify and treat existent and potential breeding sites, cold fog of individual classrooms, blocks and granular materials were placed in areas to reduce the breeding of larvae. The ULV was used to fog the school grounds and surrounding areas within the vicinity of the school. General community fogging was also carried out. Four cases of 19oz insecticides spray cans were also given to the affected schools. Mosquito fish will also be placed in the water storage tanks.

Also, the ministry continues to engage in clean-up campaigns, the most recent being on Saturday on Grand Turk. Over 800 bags of garbage and 16 trailer loads of debris and garbage was removed from the three areas with the assistance of community members.

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