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The Ministry of Health advisory on signs and symptoms of Dengue Fever
Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Port of Spain, September 20, 2011:

The Ministry of Health would like to advise of the signs and symptoms of Dengue Fever and to remind that anyone showing any sign or symptom of Dengue Fever should seek immediate medical treatment at the nearest Health Facility or visit a doctor.  Parents are advised to be extra cautious since children are at greater risk of developing severe Dengue and all its complications.
Trinidad is currently considered to be hyper-endemic for Dengue Fever, meaning that there is sustained circulation of the virus in our population at relatively high incidence levels.  There is also evidence of more than one subtype in circulation.  As a result, many of our citizens would have been exposed to one or more strains of the Dengue virus in the past.  However, exposure to one strain does not confer immunity to other strains.  This epidemiologic situation increases the risk of nationals developing severe Dengue Fever and its complications, with the risk being higher among the paediatric population.
Signs and symptoms of Dengue Fever:
Dengue Fever is spread from person to person by the bite of an INFECTED Aedes Aegypti mosquito.  Symptoms appear within 5-6 days of being bitten, last for 1-2 weeks and can include:

  • Headaches (sometimes severe)
  • High fever
  • Backache
  • Nausea / Vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Pain behind eyes
  • Diarrhea

Sometimes Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever can develop. This is a serious complication of Dengue Fever which can lead to death.
Warning signs include:

  • Severe headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Persistent vomiting / diarrhea
  • Weakness/lethargy or restlessness
  • Bleeding under the skin (read spots and bruises), bleeding nose, gums, heavy vaginal bleeding
  • Blood in stool and vomit
  • Low blood pressure and shock

Dengue is diagnosed by a simple blood test. If a person has Dengue, the Doctor will prescribe medicines to reduce the fever and treat other symptoms as necessary.

  • Do not use Aspirin, Motrin, Cataflam, Olfen or Ibuprofin.  These can cause bleeding which leads to shock.  Use Paracetamol or Acetaminophen such as Panadol / Tylenol.
  • Take ONLY those medicines prescribed by the doctor
  • Rest
  • Drink plenty of water

To protect against dengue:
The elimination of mosquito breeding sites around homes and in communities is the KEY to the prevention of Dengue Fever.
  90% of all dengue transmitting Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes are found in and around homes and 70% are found in water storage containers.  Nationals must check at least once a week for mosquito breeding sites in and around homes and get rid of them by: 

  • Disposing of all unwanted containers/items in the yard or environs which when exposed to the rain can collect water e.g. styrotex cups, bottles, old tyres, derelict vehicles and appliances;
  • Covering all water-containing containers such as barrels, drums or buckets with a mosquito-proof covering;
  • Checking your guttering and making sure that the water flows freely without any obstruction by leaves or branches, and that the guttering is free from any kinks;
  • Emptying and scrubbing the sides of water vases or use dirt or sand instead to support the flowers;
  • Ensuring that the drains in compounds allow the free flow of water.
  • Cut down and remove all overgrown bush likely to harbor mosquitoes.

Persons should also:

  • Use mosquito nets, tightly tucked under the mattress, to protect at nights
  • Use insect repellant when going outdoors, particularly at dusk, which is the peak biting time for mosquitoes.

The Ministry of Health calls on all citizens to take responsibility for your health and the health of your family.  Join the Fight against Dengue.  Clean up your surrounding today.  No mosquitoes, no Dengue!

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The Ministry of Health - Trinidad and Tobago
#63 Park Street Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.   Phone: 868-627-0010