The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment in St Vincent and the Grenadines on Monday confirmed that four people, including two children ages four and nine years old, have died as a result of the current outbreak of dengue in the territory.
“The Surveillance Committee of the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment, following extensive investigations, can now confirm that four persons have died from severe dengue fever during this current outbreak.
“As previously indicated, one adult female and one nine-year-old male who died were confirmed on laboratory diagnosis to have had dengue fever. A four-year-old male who died before the dengue test could be completed, has now been confirmed to have had dengue fever from a sample taken after his death. An elderly male, who died on Friday, September 25 at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, has also been confirmed to have had dengue fever,” the ministry said in the statement.
Last Tuesday, it had confirmed two deaths, one day after saying that the mosquito-borne viral illness was suspected in four deaths.
The health authorities said that the 432 laboratory-confirmed cases of dengue fever have now been recorded in St Vincent and the Grenadines since the outbreak was first noted in June/ July.
“The mosquito borne disease continues to affect all health districts, but most cases have been reported as occurring in persons who live in the Kingstown, Georgetown and Pembroke Health Districts. Persons in the 0-15 year age group account for the majority of cases,” the ministry said, adding that the Hospital Services Programme and the Community Health Services Programme continue to provide emergency care to the many persons who present with symptoms of dengue fever.
It said that the Accident and Emergency Department of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital is being supported by the Kingstown District Clinic which has extended its hours of operation.
“All hospitals in the public health system have reported increased occupancy, and the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital has increased the number of beds to accommodate the increased demand for admitted care. This expansion in bed capacity has been sufficient to date so that the Argyle Isolation Facility has not been used.”
The ministry said that health care providers, using a multidisciplinary approach and in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), are constantly updating the care delivered to ensure the best clinical outcomes for all patients with dengue fever.
“The Pharmaceutical Services Programme, working with consultant physicians, is currently considering the use of papaya leaf tea and α-interferon to determine their use to safely augment care for patients with moderate and severe dengue fever.
“The Vector Control Unit of the Environmental Health Department of the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment will further ramp up the Integrated Vector Control (IVC) Strategy to reduce the mosquito populations through the deployment of district teams focused on source reduction, including fogging.”
The ministry said that the fight against dengue fever is a shared responsibility and that the public is therefore urged to continue to work with the relevant authorities to reduce the risk of persons being infected with dengue fever by reducing their exposure to the mosquito.
Symptoms of dengue fever include fever, headache with pain behind the eyes, a rash, abdominal pain, vomiting and bleeding.