ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC) — Grenada is reporting an outbreak of dengue and gastroenteritis and health authorities are urging nationals to take all precautions to deal with the situation.
“Dengue and Gastro is endemic here, so we expect a certain number of cases each year but right now we are observing a significant increase for these two conditions when compared to previous years,” said Dr Shawn Charles, who heads the Epidemiology and Information Unit in the Ministry of Health.
According to figures released by the Ministry Health, the island is recording an increase in dengue fever as compared to the years 2016 and 2017.
The figures show that in 2016 there were 15 cases, increasing to 45 cases last year and during the first five months of this year, the figure is 107 cases.
The authorities said that the cases were confirmed by tests carried out here and the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
The figures show that women were the most affected by the outbreak with 56.1 per cent of the cases being females.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms typically begin three to 14 days after infection. This may include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash.
The island is also reporting increased cases of gastroenteritis in all parishes.
“The number of reported gastroenteritis cases continued to rise in epidemiology week 21. The district of St Andrew, which is experiencing an outbreak, saw a further rise in cases,” said the Weekly Communicable Disease Surveillance Report from the Epidemiology and Information Unit.
According to the data more men were affected by gastroenteritis with 57.3 per cent of the 143 cases recorded. In 2016 and 2017 there were 46 and 47 cases respectively during the same period.
Gastroenteritis, also known as ‘gastro’, is a common illness that can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. Many types of gastro are easily spread. Gastro is not usually serious but it can make a person very dehydrated.
Dr Charles said that the message now is for all people to engage in better health practises to reduce and eliminate these medical conditions.
“The message of keeping the environment clean cannot the underestimated because keeping the environment clean will help to reduce the increasing number of cases,” he said.