Dengue outbreak in Belize

Belmopan, Belize (CMC) — Health authorities have confirmed more than 250 cases of dengue fever in Belize and are urging people to clean their surroundings in a bid to deal with the outbreak.

“We’re looking at laboratory confirmed cases throughout the country, 261 cases. Clinical cases, 384 and total persons that have been tested throughout the country, 1638,” said Kim Bautista, the chief operations officer at the Vector Control Unit.

“At the same point last year we had confirmed 225 cases. We had tested 1,624 so the level of testing has more or less been similar. In terms of hemorrhagic dengue, if you understand, dengue hemorrhagic fever comes about by a combination of sterotypes of the four serotypes that exist with the dengue virus…what we see is that every three years in the region we see an increase in hemorrhagic cases because it’s like a cycle,” he added.

Dr Francis Morey of the Epidemiology Unit said that while no deaths had been recorded “up to now” the Ministry of Health was reminding citizens about the importance of dengue control or vector-borne disease control.

“The appearance of hemorrhagic disease, especially dengue, is of great concern for us at the Ministry of Health and even more by members affected by death in their family,” he said.

He warned of the possibility of “more cases as we continue in the next few months… but prevention is one of the best things that we can do as a community and as members of the community.

“So the message that we are relaying to you all and asking for your support is to advise the public to clean up their yards, advise the community to come together and do cleanup campaigns, take this message farther to the leaders of the community,” Dr Morey told reporters.

The health officials say the figures show that most of the dengue cases are in the large towns of Punta Gorda Town, San Ignacio Town, Corozal Town,

Dengue fever is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with a dengue virus. The symptoms, which usually begin four to six days after infection and last for up to 10 days, may include sudden high fever, severe headaches, pain behind the eyes, severe joint and muscle pain, as well as nausea, vomiting and skin rash.

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