REAL NEWS: There is an increase in the number of dengue-fever cases in Antigua and Barbuda, as Chief Health Inspector Sharon Martin confirms 34 cases, with 14 new infections reported over a week ago.
However, Martin says these might not be the true numbers, since some people are sick but fail to report their ailment – which is unsafe.
Therefore, she says that health officials usually will multiply the known figures by three.
While warning residents to take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes, Martin says the disease is not contagious like COVID-19 – meaning it cannot be transmitted from human to human. Rather, it is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito.
The chief health inspector recounts a number of symptoms that would indicate infection with dengue fever.
These include a high fever; head and eye pain; and body aches that are felt to the bones –
which is why the disease is also known as “broken-bone fever.”
Martin warns that the disease can also morph into something very serious and life threatening in which bleeding is involved: dengue hemorrhagic fever.
Other symptoms of the illness include tiredness; restlessness and irritability; rapid breathing; tenderness; and an unquenchable thirst.
Martin advises that, once these warning signs are detected, the affected persons should not self-treat, but must get to a doctor immediately.
Meanwhile, she says there is a proliferation of mosquitoes at this time because of the recent rainfall.
Therefore, persons must protect themselves by wearing proper clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and long pants, when going outdoors at the times when
mosquitoes are active.
Homeowners, too, are advised to properly secure and cover all water catchments (tanks, drums, buckets, bottles) to discourage mosquito breeding.
Even overflow and downpipes should be covered with gauze to prevent the insects from getting into the water supply, Martin says.
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