Dengue fever update

Since the first case of dengue fever in 2012 was reported in Cayman in September, there have been 34 confirmed cases, the highest recorded in the last three decades.

The results of nine other cases are pending, according to the Public Health Department.

Of the confirmed cases, 25 involve people living in West Bay, five from George Town and four from Bodden Town.
Since the last update from the Public Health Department on 22 December 2012, four new cases were under investigation as of 5 January. None of the new suspected cases have travel history to an endemic area, meaning that if they do have dengue fever, they would have acquired it from a bite from an infected mosquito locally. The new cases involve three residents from George Town and one from Bodden Town.

According to a release from the Public Health Department Thursday afternoon, 17 results were received last week from the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre, known as CAREC, showing that three of the cases were positive for dengue.

Since the 2012 dengue outbreak in Cayman, CAREC has examined samples of 86 cases and found that 34 were positive, 48 negative and four inconclusive, with nine pending.

“Of the 34 confirmed cases, 11 have reported a travel history to endemic countries and 23 had no travel history, suggesting that they acquired the dengue locally,” the statement from the Public Health Department read.

So far, 25 people have been admitted to hospital with symptoms of dengue. Of those cases, 13 were positive, nine negative and three are still pending results.

The symptoms of dengue are high fever, severe headache, backache, joint pains, nausea and vomiting, eye pain, and rash. There is no vaccine or specific medication to treat dengue infection.

Dengue fever is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is also capable of spreading yellow fever. This breed of mosquito lives primarily off human blood so it lives around people, in yards and gardens by their homes, and is active throughout the day and not just at dawn and dusk like other mosquitoes.


The Aedes aegypti mosquito spreads dengue. – Photo: File