Local dengue cases confirmed

The Centres for Disease Control and
Prevention has confirmed that Cayman has had its first endemic cases of dengue

Three people bitten by mosquitoes
in January contracted dengue fever, according to blood sample results that were
received by the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority on Thursday evening.

These are the first local cases
reported in Cayman. Previous cases of the fever seen in Cayman have been

The CDC confirmed the three
patients had dengue type 2.

“We are glad to say that those
three persons had recovered by late January, and equally glad to say there are
no more suspected dengue cases in the Cayman Islands,” said the Medical Officer
of Health, Dr. Kiran Kumar.

Dengue fever is caused by a virus,
transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected aedes aegypti mosquito.

Dr. Kumar described a chain of
events that likely caused the local cases with visitors from countries with
dengue, or residents returning home from abroad, contracting mild, undiagnosed
cases of the illness. Mosquitoes here probably picked up the virus, and then
transferred it to the three local people who later tested positive for dengue,
Dr. Kumar said.

He said that anti-mosquito
measures, led by staff from the Mosquito Research and Control Unit and the Department
of Environmental Health, were underway.

The blood samples had been sent in
January from Cayman to the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre in Trinidad, and then
passed on to the CDC in Puerto Rico to confirm the findings.

The results of these samples had
been expected in early February, but Dr. Kumar said the results were delayed because
the CDC lab was busy dealing with an outbreak of dengue fever in Puerto Rico.

Public and private health
practitioners are monitoring for dengue cases. “If we encounter a suspected
case, we again will send samples to CAREC for testing,” Dr. Kumar said.

Dengue symptoms include high fever;
severe headache; backache; joint and eye pain; nausea and vomiting; and rash.
Most people recover without any complications, using pain relievers and bed
rest. Dr. Kumar added that once the patient has developed a fever, the
infectious period lasts for only one week.

To reduce the aedes aegypti population
in Cayman, residents are advised to clear their yards of containers that can
hold water, as these are favourite breeding sites.

For more advice on mosquito
control, contact the Mosquito Research and Control Unit on 949-2557 in Grand
Cayman, or 948-2223 on Cayman Brac; and the Department of Environmental Health on
949-6696 in Grand Cayman, or 948-2321 in Cayman Brac.