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#380540 06/16/10 06:46 AM
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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.

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The Article:

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.

Jim McFadzean
"How many cases of Dengue have been register so far by 2010?"

Steven Rivers
"For 2010 we have over 200 cases."

Jim McFadzean
"And how does that compare to last year this same time."

Steven Rivers
"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.

Steven Rivers
"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.

Sherona Marsden
"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.

Steven Rivers
"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.

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Denque is becoming as common as the common cold. Incidences last year were surprisingly high throughout Belize, both coastal and mainland. This season started and I'm hearing about case after case. Public and private docs are required to report each case and a health inspector is supposed to investigate and Malaria Control (should be renamed Mosquito Control) directed to spray. There has always been this silly rivalry in the tourism biz between the beach and mainland areas about incidences of malaria and how you can't catch it at the beach but can on the mainland. Thats complete rubbish. Malaria is not a big deal; dengue is and will knock you out for a week or two, depending on which strain you have and your general health. This is nothing to mess around with and better to have a high profile campaign now to prevent, then send get well cards later. Also good for visitors to know symptoms, so if they contracted it, can tell their doc at home what to look for.


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Katie Valk #380558 06/16/10 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Katie Valk
Malaria is not a big deal

Until you catch it. Then it IS.

Peter Jones #380563 06/16/10 09:57 AM
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97% of our malaria cases are vivax, which is not a big deal. I'm not here to argue or have the last word. Go outside and clean up your surrounding area, and your neighbors, if they won't.


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Katie Valk #380745 06/17/10 07:06 AM
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On AC we have so much trash on vacant lots - especially in town. This has to be an issue for the health dept as well, no?


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Originally Posted by Diane Campbell
On AC we have so much trash on vacant lots - especially in town. This has to be an issue for the health dept as well, no?



You hit the point, and it is even worse in DFC and nobody cares.

For me, it seems after a wile resident get used to the trash in there yard or in there neighborhood and don't care anymore.

Cayemen #380832 06/17/10 02:44 PM
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In our area the health inspector contacted property owners and insisted that they clean up any problems areas.

Cayemen #380833 06/17/10 02:46 PM
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We also have low-lying land which at this time of year is permanently flooded. I have such land next to my house. Absolutely nothing I can do about it, but I'm sure it is a major breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Peter Jones #380840 06/17/10 04:00 PM
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Many people pour small amounts of cooking oil into any standing water.

Peter Jones #380885 06/17/10 08:32 PM
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Public Health at the Poly clinic have some stuff you sprinkle on standing water to stop mosquito breeding.They gave me some a while back to sprinkle onto the cenote. I think it is an enzyme, and is harmless to humans and animals.Call Public Health Miss Lisa, 226 2536.

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