Public health meeting on dengue planned

A public health meeting on dengue fever has been planned for this Wednesday in East End.

It comes as the Ministry of Health and the Mosquito Research and Control Unit on Friday confirmed Cayman’s first dengue case after a person contracted the virus locally.

According to the ministry statement, the case is “a Cayman Islands resident who had no recent travel history”.

Health officials did not release details on the district in which the case has been confirmed.

The community meeting will be held at the United Church Hall in East End at 7:30pm.

Staff from the Department of Environmental Health, Public Health and the MRCU will be at the meeting and will answer all questions, according to a meeting notice.

Dengue outbreaks have been declared in a number of countries within the region and, until now, Cayman was one of the few territories that was dengue free.

In Jamaica, more than 5,900 dengue cases, including 88 deaths related to the virus, have been reported so far this year. The Jamaican government has committed JM$350 million (CI$2 million) to fight the mosquito-borne disease.

Florida recently has also reported a small number of cases of locally acquired dengue. According to the latest statistics for 2019 from the Pan-American Health Organization, there have been 2.56 million reported cases of dengue in the Americas, 1.31 million of which have been confirmed. In addition, 20,605 severe cases of the disease were reported and there were 1,082 dengue-related deaths.

What is dengue fever?
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease that is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. There is no vaccine or specific medicine to treat dengue.

Signs to look for
Dengue is a febrile illness that affects infants, young children, and adults.

Symptoms include:
• Mild to incapacitating high fever
• Severe headache
• Pain behind the eyes
• Muscle and joint pain
• Rash

In severe cases dengue can include:
• Shock
• Respiratory distress
• Severe bleeding, and/or serious organ impairment
– Source (PAHO)

What to do
The Public Health Department recommends that anyone with any of the symptoms to head to the nearest health centre or hospital.

Do not take any medication that contains aspirin.

Drink lots of liquids.

Encourage neighbours and family members to go to the nearest health centre or hospital if they or their family members have these symptoms.

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