Health authorities are investigating five new suspected dengue cases in the Cayman Islands.
According to information released by the Cayman Islands Public Health Department on Tuesday, 13 November, 16 cases of the disease have been confirmed thus far, with half of the patients appearing to have contracted the dengue virus locally.
Twelve people living in West Bay have been infected with the virus, three in Bodden Town and one in George Town.
Since 3 November, when the Public Health Department issued the last batch of figures relating to dengue, five new cases have been investigated. Two of those five people have been admitted to the hospital.
So far this year, 55 people have been suspected to have dengue fever.
The results of samples from 34 cases sent to the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre laboratory, known as CAREC, in Trinidad and Tobago have been received, showing that 16 were positive and 18 negative. The results of 21 cases are pending. Five of the 16 people who have been confirmed to have dengue fever were admitted to hospital. Two other suspected cases, who subsequently turned out not to have dengue, were also hospitalised and another five, whose results are still pending, were also admitted to the hospital for care.
It usually takes seven to 10 days for the CAREC lab to return results on suspected cases.
Symptoms of dengue fever includes fever, headache, joint pain, nausea, eye pain and rash. There is no vaccine for dengue and no specific treatment for the disease itself, as the doctors treat the symptoms, keeping patients hydrated and managing pain.
Joint pains resulting from dengue fever can be so severe that the disease is also known as breakbone fever.
The dengue virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The mosquito must bite an infected person in the first week of symptoms and then survive for a further eight to 10 days in order to transmit the disease.