DENGUE - A thread exists in an open forum - about Malaria and Dengue. The following article is from Channel 7 News and is something we might well want to pay attention to. The stats on reported cases of Dengue for 2010 are 10 times higher than 2009. IMHO as businesses we should pay attention to this and make a concerted effort to clean up San Pedro's refuse / yard trash. I have not posted this on the general board. If we take care of the issue there won't be anything for our visitors to fear.
Last year, there was a surge in the number of cases of Dengue reported in Belize particularly between May and July. So is the same thing going to happen this year? That's the question Jim McFadzean has been trying to find answers for.
Jim McFadzean, Reporting
Steven Rivers, Supervisor of Public Health
"Dengue is a serious problem. They have 4 types of Dengue, Types 1,2,3 and 4, and if you have gotten contact with any two of those types, you could be Haemorraghic Dengue. Haemorraghic is very serious and it could kill you."
A sobering warning of the serious consequences of catching Dengue. And despite the Health Ministry's own admission that the number of Dengue cases skyrocketed during the first three months of 2010, there's been no alarm bells sounding such danger to the public. But this recent admission to Seven News by Supervisor of Public Health, Steven Rivers should be cause for great concern.
"How many cases of Dengue have been register so far by 2010?"
"For 2010 we have over 200 cases."
"And how does that compare to last year this same time."
"Its way off because last year this time we didn't have as much, not even 50 we had that time last year."
With the oncoming rainy season, Belizeans are once again bracing for an onslaught of the annoying and pesky little blood sucking insect the mosquito which is the cause of dengue. Dengue is the disease caused by any one of the four closely related dengue viruses transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. And Rivers is advising that there are some steps the public can take to reduce the risks of coming in contact with the deadly aedes mosquito that causes Dengue.
"If you have cans or bottles or anything like that that holds water in the yard to please throw it away or get rid of it. If you are not using a bucket and it holds water, turn it over. If you don't want to use it and it's not good or whatever, just don't throw it away, because you will give somebody else that problem. What we would like for you to do is make holes in the bucket so it doesn't hold water. 'Tires and all that, those things around the place, you know throw some oil, simple cooking oil when you finish cooking and you have left over cooking oil, put it in the drain or any water lying around cause the oil will kill the larvae."
The principal symptoms of Dengue fever are: high fever, severe headache, severe pain behind the eyes, joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rash, and mild bleeding (eg. Nose or gum bleeding, and easy bruising).
In the case of the more serious Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, the fever lasts from 2-7 days with general signs and symptoms consistent with Dengue Fever. When the fever declines, symptoms including persistent vomiting, severe abdominal pain, and difficulty breathing may develop.
Those who have come down with the illness complain, there have been many incidences of misdiagnosis, which have contributed to unnecessary medical bills and in some cases unnecessary suffering. One such case of misdiagnosis we reported on, only a few months ago. Sherona Marsden the sister of Cheriese Tillett who we carried her struggle with the deadly disease earlier this year, tells us that flaws in the record keeping system is to blame for her sister's close call with the disease.
"Definitely we were concern about the spending. I mean we are spending money nothings changing she's getting blood. It got to the point where we tried buying blood and it was very costly. I think in retrospect we realize that if they had a medical history on her in the first instance that she had contracted dengue and it had been recorded we would been save a lot of time and money because I am guessing automatically on her second trip it would have been check again well she had dengue once let's make sure that it's not that this time. It would have save us a lot of time. She was referred to an obstetrician; they initially thought that she was having female problems which was not that. Then we got different blood test done, several before they actually call for the dengue test."
The flaws in the record keeping system has become an apparent blame game. There are medical practitioners, who off the record, are accusing the Ministry of poor record keeping and an indifference to effectively monitor and mobilize against Dengue.
"Probably practitioners and private labs or whoever they have an obligation to report these things to the ministry. But right now we are doing it going out there and picking up all the cases daily so as to be on top of things. The first 3 months we weren't doing that, we were expecting the results to come to us, but it didn't so that's why we had an outbreak the first 3 months."
There is no vaccine to prevent dengue, and so the best preventive measure is to eliminate the places where mosquitoes lay eggs, primarily artificial containers that hold water.