Dengue suspected in death of child
KINGSTOWN, St Vincent – Two days after being treated at a public health care facility for what was believed to be a case of the mosquito-borne dengue fever, a four year old boy died on Friday.
A source with knowledge of the case told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), that the child was treated at a polyclinic then discharged.
While dengue, a mosquito-borne viral disease, has not been confirmed as having caused or contributed to the death of the child, the death comes as the nation is in the midst of a dengue outbreak that has largely affected children and teenagers.
On September 2, the number of laboratory confirmed cases of dengue stood at 184, up from 74 just one week earlier.
“So we see that over the last week or so we’ve had quite a significant increase in the number of laboratory confirmed cases,” said Tamara Bobb, an epidemiologist at the Ministry of Health.
“In terms of dengue haemorrhagic, we have just recorded about one, one or two cases. So I would say the major have been mostly mild,” said Bobb, who was speaking on a local programme.
She added that no deaths were recorded thus far.
“To date, we have noted quite a few infections in children,” Bobb said. “… we have as young as one month old. Zero to 15 years old, we have about 45 per cent of the cases are in that particular age group,” Bobb said.
She noted that school had been closed for an extended period, from March to September, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have been encouraging persons to stay at home. But the thing is, the mosquito loves to be around the home, it loves to be wherever there is fresh water.
“So our children are at home but they are at risk now because they are around the mosquito for longer periods of time so there is more opportunity for them to get bitten,” Bobb said.
Meanwhile, physician Jerrol Thompson, an infectious disease expert, said that children are more susceptible to dengue. He said he was happy that children were returning to school after a long break as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The last major dengue outbreak in the country was in 2014, when there were about 240 cases. (CMC)