9 July 2010 - Since the start of this year, the Ministry of Health has received 348 reports of clinical cases of Classical Dengue Fever, 30 of which have been laboratory confirmed at the Central Medical Laboratory and 42 diagnosed as Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. The majority of these cases have been identified in the Cayo (142 cases) and Belize districts (167 cases).
Dengue, also known as “Breakbone Fever”, is an infectious disease that can be deadly. It is transmitted by the bite of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitos. If a person who was infected with Dengue in the past is infected a second time, the potential is increased for Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever or Dengue Shock Syndrome to develop, which is a more severe, life-threatening form of the disease.
Infection is characterized by high fever; headache, pain behind the eyes (retro-orbital pain), joint and muscle pain, and rash (may not be visible on dark-skinned persons). If you have any of these symptoms you should go to the nearest health center or hospital, do not take any medication that contains Aspirin, and drink lots of liquids. You should also encourage neighbors and family members to go to the nearest health center or hospital if they or their family members have these symptoms.
The Ministry of Health is addressing the increased number of cases seen this year with insecticide spraying and treatment of mosquito breeding sites. Additional activities that should be done by family members and the community to prevent Dengue include: washing water storage containers such as drums at least once a week, changing the water in flower pots every 4 or 5 days, avoid having containers that can collect water in your yard (e.g. empty cans, tires), and keep vats, drums, buckets and all other containers that can collect water properly covered or overturned. These are ideal breeding sites for the mosquito that transmits Dengue. With the elimination of breeding sites in and around the yard, Dengue can be avoided.
Dengue Fever is a disease that must be taken very seriously, in particular if you have had these symptoms in the past. While the Ministry of Health continues to do its part to reduce the number of cases with insecticide spraying, these activities only control the adult mosquito. The public is also advised to maintain a clean environment with few breeding sites to keep yourself, your family and your community safe.
“This has been a health and wellness message from your Ministry of Health”
For More Information contact:
Ministry of Health
4792 Coney Drive, 3rd Floor, Withfield Tower, Belize City, Belize