Dengue tests sent to CDC

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is examining the
results of tests on blood samples of suspected dengue fever sufferers in Cayman
to confirm if the mosquito-borne virus is being spread locally.

The Cayman Islands Medical Officer
of Health Kiran Kumar said last week that the results of tests on three people
who appeared to have symptoms of dengue fever would be known this week after
the samples were sent to the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre, known as CAREC, in  Trinidad.

However, he said on Tuesday that it
may now take another week for the results to be confirmed because CAREC had
sent the samples to the CDC to confirm the results.

“The results are not available
yet,” Mr. Kumar said. “They were sent to the CDC as we have not had any local
transmission of dengue in the past, so we want to be 100 per cent certain
whether the results are positive or negative.”

Three people – a woman and two men
– were hospitalised last month with suspected dengue fever, which is caused by
a virus spread by the aedes aegypti
mosquito. If it is confirmed that they had dengue, this would be the first
reported locally transmitted cases in Cayman.

Mr. Kumar said all three, who were
suffering from acute viral infections, were discharged from hospital last month
and have recovered. He said that none of the three were infectious by the time
they left hospital, and that there has been no new suspected cases of dengue
since then.

The first patient was admitted to
hospital in the first week of January and the other two in the second week.

The last two cases of dengue
reported in Cayman – a fatal case of dengue hemorrhagic fever in January 2008
and a case of the less severe dengue fever in which the victim recovered in
January 2009 – were both imported.

None of the three patents
hospitalised last month reported travelling outside the Cayman Islands
recently.

Symptoms of dengue fever include high
fever, severe headache, backache, joint and eye pain, nausea and vomiting, and a
bright red rash. Most people recover without any complications, using pain
relievers and bed rest.

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