St. Lucia health authorities Tuesday said they were investigating two dengue-related deaths and appealed to persons to seek immediate medical attention if they show symptoms associated with the mosquito-borne disease.
In a statement, the Ministry of Health and Wellness said the two individuals that it gave no details about were seen and managed at the Owen King European Union Hospital (OKEUH), where they presented with a clinical picture consistent with dengue fever.
All the samples were tested locally for the dengue virus and sent to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for confirmation.
“The Ministry of Health and Wellness awaits these confirmatory results. To date, St. Lucia has recorded one confirmed dengue-related death and is investigating two new dengue-related deaths. As of October 3, a total of 540 confirmed cases have been recorded,” the statement said.
The mean age of cases is 19 years, with an age range from three weeks to 84 years, noting that the age group five to 14 years accounts for approximately 38 percent of cases.
The health authorities said that 49 percent of confirmed cases occurred during August, with both serotypes two and three continuing to be in circulation.
They said that while all health regions have reported dengue fever cases, the highest prevalence continues to be reported in the northern part of the island, with Castries, Gros Islet, and Babineau accounting for 34, 17 eight percent of cases respectively.
“The public is reminded that with both dengue serotypes two and three in circulation, the likelihood of persons presenting with the severe form of dengue fever is increased. In its mild form, dengue fever may present with fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, and a red itchy rash,” the statement said, adding that there are several warning signs that persons need to be aware of.
It said these include intense and continuous abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding from the gums or nose, in the urine or vomit, or dark-colored stool as well as restlessness or drowsiness and an enlarged liver.
“Persons presenting with these warning signs should immediately seek medical attention. There is no specific treatment for dengue fever, and management is supportive based on presenting signs and symptoms,” the Ministry of Health and Wellness said.
It said that dengue fever requires a vector to maintain the spread of the disease.
“The control of the mosquito population is, therefore, dependent on the elimination of breeding sites. The public is asked to assist in the control of dengue fever,” it added.