Travellers urged to guard against yellow fever

| 04/05/2016 | 6 Comments

yellow fever(CNS): With the emergence of a yellow fever outbreak in Africa and parts of Asia, public health officials here are urging travelers to take precautions as the disease is spread by the usual culprit, the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The mosquito, which is hard to control because it lives and breeds close to humans in dense urban environments, is present in Cayman and could spread yellow fever along with a list of other serious diseases if anyone infected arrives on our shores.

“There are no suspected cases of yellow fever in the Cayman Islands,” Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr Samuel Williams Rodriguez said. “Because we have the Aedes aegypti mosquito, involved in the spread of yellow fever, in the Cayman Islands, we do have potential for transmission if a returning resident or a visitor has the yellow fever virus. We remain in constant contact with our partners in prevention and control, the Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU), the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) for their appropriate action. Any samples from suspected cases will be sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for confirmation as they have the capacity for testing.”

Officials said the Public Health Department is closely monitoring the presence of yellow fever internationally and especially in the region. During the past 10 years yellow fever has been reported in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.

“Yellow fever is a viral disease similar to dengue fever,” explained Rodriguez, noting that the name refers to the jaundice that affects some patients in severe cases.

He warned that people travelling to known yellow fever endemic countries should take preventative measures such as using a repellent, wearing protective clothing, using air conditioning indoors, or only opening screened windows and doors, staying indoors during early dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active and/or getting vaccinated, which provides effective immunity beginning 10 days after the date of vaccination.

The initial symptoms include sudden onset of fever, chills, severe headache, back pain, general body aches, nausea, and vomiting, fatigue and weakness. Most people improve after the initial presentation and their symptoms disappear after three to four days. For people who develop symptoms, the incubation period is typically three to six days. The majority of people infected with yellow fever virus have no illness or only mild illness.

There is no specific treatment for yellow fever. Those infected are advised to rest, drink fluids, and use pain relievers and medication to reduce fever. However, care should be taken to avoid certain medications, such as aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which may increase the risk of bleeding, medical experts warn.

For more information, call the Public Health Department on 244-2621, or Faith Hospital in Cayman Brac on 948-2243.

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Comments (6)

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  1. Al Catraz says:

    “staying indoors during early dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active and/or getting vaccinated”

    What idiot is vaccinating the mosquitos?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Every resident in the Cayman Islands should get the one-time lifetime inoculation conferred with the YFV 17D-204 vaccination. Over 600 mln served, over almost 80 years.

    • Anonymous says:

      Rare serious adverse events after vaccination include neurologic or viscerotropic syndromes or anaphylaxis
      So unless you are a traveler why should you get this vaccination?

      • Anonymous says:

        To the anti-vax morons: Because there are airplanes now and because we have an endemic population of Aedes Aegypti, the vector ingredient for urban Yellow Fever Virus outbreak, and because we should learn from the many historical outbreaks with high casualties of people that assumed it would never happen to them, or could never happen in New Orleans, or New York, etc. Close to 50% mortality in the toxic phase, and nothing doctors can do, except try to keep victims comfortable. Or roll the dice if you prefer.

        • anonymous says:

          Nature’s way to manage earth’s population. What you are afraid of will certainly kill you. The way to escape death and diseases is to never be born.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yellow Fever Virus was the first to be isolated by humans in Ghana in 1927. This is the safest attenuated vaccine ever created by humans. There is no anaphylaxis unless a pre-existing and acute allergy to eggs. Extremely rare idiosyncratic reactions are possible from anything, including food or airborne spores. You are statistically more likely to win the lottery than develop a fatal complication.

        Consider that in the >600,000,000 vaccinations:

        “Twenty-one cases of vaccine-associated neurotropic disease associated with all licensed 17D vaccines have been reported between 1952 and 2004, 18 in children or adolescents. Fifteen of these cases occurred prior to 1960, thirteen of which occurred in infants 4 months of age or younger, and two of which occurred in infants six and seven months old. Six cases were reported between 1960 and 1996, world-wide. Three occurred in children, including a one-month-old infant, a three-year-old, and a thirteen-year-old. The three-year-old died of encephalitis, and a genetic variant of the vaccine virus was isolated from the brain in this case. This is the only verified fatality due to yellow fever vaccine-associated neurotropic disease. The three remaining cases of vaccine-associated neurotropic disease since 1960 occurred in adults.” – per the FDA

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