Editorial for 14 January: Be vigilant in mozzie fight

There are some issues you don’t want your
country noted for. Having dengue fever considered to now be endemic to the
Cayman Islands is one such issue.

We have now had a whopping 23
locally-contracted cases of dengue fever within the past four months. That
means that the people who contracted the disease got it from infected
mosquitoes here in the Cayman Islands.

Most dengue cases in the Cayman Islands in
the past have come from people who had been to areas where the dengue mosquito
breeds outside of Cayman.

The latest dengue figures released by the
Cayman Islands Public Health Department show that 34 people in Cayman
contracted dengue fever since September 2012, the highest number recorded in
three decades.

The hardest hit area appears to be West Bay
followed by George Town and then Bodden Town.

But we have had the Aedes aegypti mosquito,
which can also spread yellow fever, in all districts of Grand Cayman for quite
some time, so it’s important for us to get rid of areas where mosquitoes breed
– standing water.

Take a look around your yard and garden or
outside your business for things that hold water and empty those vessels.

The Mosquito Research and Control Unit
immediately dispatches to areas where dengue patients live to remove the
mosquito and its larvae from the area.

Be vigilant in your use of mosquito
repellant. The mosquitoes that carry dengue are active throughout the day and
not just at dawn and dusk like other mosquitoes.

Unfortunately many of us have been
suffering from the flu, which has symptoms similar to dengue.

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.

At this writing, 25 people have been
hospitalised for treatment of dengue fever.

If you suspect you have been bitten by an
Aedes aegypti mosquito and are experiencing the above symptoms, seek medical
attention immediately.