We now have two confirmed cases of dengue fever in the Cayman Islands.
That means that all of us are susceptible to getting bitten by the type of mosquito that carries the disease and getting sick.
While dengue fever usually isn’t fatal – although it can be – it’s a miserable illness to contend with. It’s called break bone fever for a reason
Classically, dengue fever is an acute illness of sudden onset. It is extremely debilitating, with fever lasting three to five days. Following a partial recovery for one to two days symptoms resume, which include muscle pain – particularly backache – joint pain, pain behind the eye, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, gastrointestinal disturbance, rash and increased vascular permeability.
There is no vaccine to prevent dengue but there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family from getting bitten by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
Firstly, avoid mosquito bites by using mosquito repellents on skin and clothing.
If you’re outdoors during times that mosquitoes are biting, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks.
When indoors, stay in air-conditioned or screened areas. Use bed nets if sleeping areas are not screened or air-conditioned.
Eliminate mosquito breeding sites in areas where dengue might occur:
Eliminate mosquito breeding sites around homes by discarding 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.
We know that there have been dengue outbreaks in the Caribbean, Central and South America and many areas residents of the Cayman Islands frequently visit including Jamaica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Barbados, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.
If you are from any of the above countries and reading this be attuned to your health.
If, over the next two weeks, you develop a fever with two or more symptoms such as headache, muscle aches, rash, joint pains and pain behind the eyes, contact a doctor immediately. Those are all signs of dengue fever.
There isn’t a cure for dengue fever, but the symptoms can be treated.
Just be aware that the Aedes aegypti mosquito is on Grand Cayman and there are at least two people here with the disease. If one of the mosquitoes bites either of them and then bites you or one of your family members, you will most likely get dengue fever.