Department of Health Acting Commissioner Darice Plaskett said last week that the department received reports of confirmed cases of Dengue Fever in the territory and urged residents who exhibit symptoms including nausea, eye, joint and muscle pain, to seek immediate medical care.
A Dengue Fever case was confirmed in the St. Thomas/St. John District and another case involved a visitor to the island of St. Croix who tested positive for Dengue Fever. Neither individuals, one of whom was a 58-year-old woman and the other a 17-year-old male, were hospitalized.
DOH is also awaiting confirmation of a suspected Dengue Fever case in the St. Croix District.
Dengue Fever cases can only be confirmed through testing and all health care providers are reminded that all suspected cases should immediately be reported to the DOH, explained Dr. Thomas Morris, DOH Epidemiologist.
A Notification of Infectious Disease Form should be submitted via confidential fax to 713-1508. The form can be downloaded from the DOH website www.healthvi.org.
Last week, DOH issued its annual Dengue Fever Advisory, to coincide with the Hurricane Season, which runs June 1 through November 31.
“Increased rains can make certain areas near the home a haven for mosquito breeding and place individuals at risk for Dengue Fever,” Plaskett said. “We went through both the hurricane and rainy seasons last year without a positive case of Dengue being reported and with these confirmed cases, we urge residents to be vigilant and help their communities and the Department of Health stop the spread of Dengue Fever by doing basic things.”
Dengue Fever is caused by a virus transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito and symptoms include headache, joint and muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. Residents should seek immediate care, if they have those symptoms, Morris explained.
More complicated cases of Dengue Fever can result in Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever which is characterized by high fever, bleeding and circulatory failure and in rare instances, may result in death.
Morris also urged residents to spray dark closets as the mosquitos which cause Dengue are usually in the house.
“They hide in dark closets and sleep when we sleep and are awake when we are awake,” he said.
DOH is also tracking reports of Dengue Fever in nearby Puerto Rico, according to Plaskett.
“The Virgin Islands is home to many Puerto Rico natives, many of whom travel back and forth between islands so we urge residents who experience Dengue Fever symptoms after traveling, to seek immediate care,” he said.