Dengue Fever Virus Alert Reaches Dominica Island

Caribbean island Dominica joins Jamaica in issuing dengue fever virus alerts during 2019
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Caribbean (Vax Before Travel)

The Commonwealth of Dominica’s Ministry of Health declared a dengue fever virus alert on January 24, 2019, according to reporting by WIC News.   

This announcement comes in the wake of a regional dengue fever virus alert issued by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) on January 18th.

“The 2 most important things to manage mosquito populations in our Caribbean countries are to manage water storage drums and tanks, and properly dispose of used vehicle tires to prevent mosquitos breeding,” states Dr. C. James Hospedales, Executive Director of CARPHA.   

Dominica's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David Johnson, said that the number of dengue cases has been increasing in the French islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Saint Martin, and the ministry of health is taking the necessary actions to prevent an outbreak of dengue on Dominica. 

Dr. Johnson said ‘that Dominica health authorities are also attempting to prevent a dengue outbreak through public health intervention, heightening the alert in terms of what is happening to the general public, releasing public announcements and using social media.’ 

Dr. Johnson also mentioned the 3 main forms of the dengue disease. 

If bitten by a mosquito that carries the virus, it could range from type 1 to type 4. The mild form of the disease can be detected by the following symptoms: fever only, rash, headache, pain at the back of the eye, joint pain and vomiting. 

Two other forms of the disease are considered severe and can be detected when a person has dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome and according to Dr. Johnson, these two severe forms can result in death. 

The dengue vaccine Dengvaxia is approved in the EU and pending approval by the US Food and Drug Administration. 

In terms of precautionary measures, the Dominica ministry is encouraging the public to stop the breeding of mosquitoes in their homes and community. People are also advised to avoid being bitten by the mosquito and ensure their safety by using insect repellent, wearing long clothing and sleeping under mosquito nets. 

Previously, public health officials have reported that mosquitoes in Dominica are infected with Zika and spreading it to people, reports the CDC. 

The CDC issued a Level 2 Travel Alert during August 2018 regarding the risk of Zika virus on Dominica. 

Many people infected with Zika virus do not get sick or only have mild symptoms. 

However, infection during pregnancy can cause severe birth defects. Because there is no vaccine or medicine for Zika, travelers should take steps to prevent getting Zika during travel. 

And, they should also take steps to prevent spreading it when they return home. 

Additionally, the CDC recommends Americans ensure they are up-to-date on routine vaccines before visiting Dominica Island. 

The Commonwealth of Dominica is an island country in the West Indies. It is part of the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. 

Travel vaccination counseling appointment can be easily scheduled at Vax-Before-Travel.