Caribbean countries have been put on alert by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) over a possible dengue fever outbreak in 2018.
The Agency’s executive director, Dr James Hospedales noted that the fever has been increasing in frequency over 30 years.
“This virus has been increasing in frequency over the past 30 years. Reports from Latin America and elsewhere show markedly increased dengue in recent months, so we in the Caribbean can expect it will soon be here,” he said during the observance of Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week 2018.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease transmitted by female mosquitoes, which also transmits chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika. Severe dengue, also known as Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever, is one of the leading causes of hospitalisation and death.
The disease does not yet have a cure but it can be managed with early detection and access to medical treatment. Some symptoms to check out for, according to WHO, include, high fever followed by severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands or rash.
One of the ways to prevent an attack, according to CARPHA is to prevent mosquito bites and manage water bodies.
“We need to clean up our surroundings. The two most important things to manage mosquito populations in our Caribbean countries are to manage water storage drums and tanks, and properly dispose of used vehicle tires to prevent mosquitos breeding,” said Dr Hospedales.