Ag. Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health and Social Development
Telephone: 468-3701 ext. 852 7742
A health advisory has been issued by the Ministry of Health and Social Development as a result of the significant increase in the number of reported dengue cases.
The Public Health Surveillance Unit within the Ministry of Health and Social Development describes Dengue fever, also known as “Breakbone Fever”, as an infectious disease that is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquito.
The infection is characterised by symptoms of high fever; headache, pain behind the eyes or retro-orbital pain, joint and muscle pain, and a rash that may not be visible on dark-skinned persons; but can result in death.
Persons who were infected with the disease in the past are subjected to reinfection with an increase potential for Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever or Severe Dengue, which is a more life-threatening form of the disease.
The entire Virgin Islands community is warned that many viral illnesses look alike, and that dengue can be mistaken for other illnesses. Residents are therefore encouraged to seek treatment from their health care provider. Persons who may been showing symptoms of Dengue and have decided to self-medicate are informed that treatment for the fever is acetaminophen or paracetamol.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development is urging the public to avoid the use of aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen or any of the medications/pain relievers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs, when used to treat the fever in dengue, have been known to increase the severity of the disease.
The Environmental Health Division is proactively addressing the increased number of cases seen this year with insecticide spraying, fogging and treatment of mosquito breeding sites. However, the public is also reminded to play their part in controlling mosquito breeding and the spread of diseases by keeping surroundings free of debris; covering water containers, destroying or treating potential mosquito-breeding sites; wearing protective clothing; using a DEET-containing mosquito repellent and, as much as possible, staying indoors at dusk with windows and doors closed.
Persons may telephone the Environmental Health Division at (284) 468-5110 or (284) 494-4954 with any reports or concerns.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development aspires to provide a caring and integrated system of health and social services that facilitates human development and quality of life in the British Virgin Islands.