First Case of Dengue Fever Reported This Year in St. Thomas/St. John District

Department of Health Commissioner Julia Sheen said last week the department has confirmed the territory’s first case of Dengue fever for the year.

The case was reported in the St. Thomas/St. John district and follow-up testing confirmed positive for the disease caused by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which is mostly found in the home, according to Sheen.

“Increased rains can make certain areas near the home a haven for mosquito breeding and place individuals at risk for Dengue Fever,” Sheen said. “We went through both the hurricane and rainy seasons last year without a positive case of Dengue being reported and with this confirmed case, 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.”

Residents should: keep tires in dry places; put plants that are currently in water into soil and empty flowerpot vases weekly; keep water barrels tightly sealed; cover or turn pet dishes and buckets that hold water upside down; and place a screen or mesh over the overflow pipe of cisterns.


Residents are also reminded to: repair or replace damaged screens and keep windows and doors without screens closed; cover infant cribs with mosquito netting; spray dark closets often; and use mosquito repellents.


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, Sheen added.

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.

DOH Epidemiologist Dr. Eugene Tull said that the department will issue a fogging schedule as part of its mosquito abatement program in light of recent rains. Mosquitoes which cause Dengue, however, are often found in homes, Tull added.

“They hide in dark closets and sleep when we sleep and are awake when we are awake,” Dr. Tull said.

Sheen also reminded health care providers that Dengue Fever is a reportable disease and that all medical agencies, clinics and private physicians territory-wide are required to report any such cases to: 773-1311, Ext. 3241.

To report large pools of stagnant water, contact the Environmental Health Division on St. Thomas at 774-9000, Ext. 4641 or dial 715-5111.