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Blue Hills, Five Cays Lead Dengue Cases

Since the onset of the dengue outbreak in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has reported a total of 172 confirmed cases so far.

Among these cases, 90 were confirmed through testing at the Caribbean Public Health Laboratory, with the remaining cases identified locally through dengue rapid tests. The distribution of cases is concentrated with 167 on Providenciales and 5 on Grand Turk.

Out of the 90 laboratory-confirmed cases, 74 were identified as type 3 Dengue, which is associated with more severe disease, while 2 cases were type 2 Dengue. To date, there have been no reported deaths related to dengue, but 18 individuals were hospitalized.

The age groups primarily affected are those within the 20-59 years range, followed by the 6-19 years age group. The MOH said the most impacted communities in Providenciales are Blue Hills and Five Cays. Males account for a higher proportion of cases at 60.5% compared to females at 37.8%.

Dengue is transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, which also spreads other viruses like Zika and chikungunya. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, present in the TCI, prefers laying eggs in artificial containers with water, emphasizing the importance of eliminating potential breeding sites.

Symptoms of dengue include fever, nausea, vomiting, rash, severe headache, and body aches. Severe cases may exhibit symptoms such as abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding gums or nose, and fatigue.

Preventive measures include protecting oneself from mosquito bites through the use of clothing, mosquito nets, and repellents. Additionally, it is crucial to eliminate mosquito breeding sites by regularly checking and emptying containers that hold water, such as tires and buckets.

The Ministry of Health and Human Services says it is actively responding to the outbreak by implementing an Integrated Vector Management Plan, conducting vector control activities, and engaging in public education campaigns. Despite a reduction in reported cases due to these efforts, recent rains pose a risk of increased mosquito breeding.

The public is urged to play a vital role in preventing the further spread of dengue by covering water containers, disposing of old tires, and maintaining clean environments. Citizens are encouraged to report standing water or potential mosquito breeding sites to the Environmental Health Department.

The Ministry says it continues to offer free testing for dengue and emphasizes the importance of seeking medical attention for suspected cases. The public is reminded to avoid mosquito bites, and the Ministry is collaborating with regional and international stakeholders to enhance the response to the outbreak.



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