Cayman Islands public health officials have confirmed a local case of dengue fever most probably imported from the Bahamas by a returning resident.
This is the first dengue case reported in the Cayman Islands for 2011. Last year saw a total of 7 confirmed cases – two imported and five with no travel history. In 2008 and 2009 there were only 2 imported cases each year.
So far this year, Caribbean countries have reported 47 confirmed dengue fever cases, with the Bahamas and Aruba having especially high rates, according to Pan American Health Organisation statistics. More than 1,000 cases with dengue like symptoms were reported in the Bahamas.
“With the current rash of cases in the region, medical personnel are on high alert to look for any local cases,” Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kiran Kumar said.
The Public Health Department already issued a travel advisory (22 September) as part of its heightened surveillance for local presence of the disease.
“While dengue fever is not endemic to the Cayman Islands, as there is no sustained transmission of the disease, it is always wise to avoid mosquito bites by covering up at sunrise and sunset when the dengue carrier, the aedes aegyptii mosquito is the most active,” Dr. Kumar said. “While we need to be alert, and take preventative measures, we need not be alarmed of one case. For aedes mosquito to transmit dengue, they must bite infected persons, otherwise they can’t.”
He also reminded the public that they can help reduce the aedes aegyptii population locally, by clearing yards of containers that can hold water, as these are favourite breeding sites.
For more advice on mosquito control, contact MRCU on 949-2557 in Grand Cayman, or 948-2223 on Cayman Brac; and DEH on 949-6696 in Grand Cayman, or 948-2321 in Cayman Brac.