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Seek medical attention immediately after having dengue symptoms, health ministry urges

Friday, January 18, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Ministry of Health is advising people to seek medical attention immediately after experiencing symptoms of Dengue fever.

Making the call, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jacqueline Bisasor McKenzie, says once individuals are infected with the disease, they will encounter “warning signs” of persistent vomiting, abdominal pain, tiredness, signs of confusion, lethargy (weakness), and restlessness.

“Those are signs of decreased perfusion to the brain. It means that enough fluid is not going to the brain, because persons are dehydrated,” she said. She emphasised that dehydration must be treated.

“What is important is to recognise the signs. Many persons are waiting until it is severe dengue and they see signs of bleeding, before they go for treatment,” the CMO added, noting that this condition can occur without bleeding, so it is important for people to recognise the warning signs.

She said that over 70 per cent of persons who contract the disease experience mild symptoms, such as fever and rash over the eye, and in those cases caution must be exercised with home treatment.

Bisasor McKenzie said that people must take steps to clear mosquito breeding sites, and avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, as the infected mosquitoes will also transmit the disease to other family members.

The ministry is also urging individuals not to use aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen or any of the medications/pain relievers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs, when used to treat dengue fever, have been known to increase the severity of the disease.

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus and is endemic in Jamaica. The virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected female Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Symptoms for dengue typically begin three to 14 days after infection. This may include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a skin rash. Symptoms usually last two to seven days.

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