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Dengue Fever the Focus of Territory CDC Conferences

Dec. 3, 2004 — Recent cases of dengue fever in the St. Thomas-St. John District resulted in two conferences being held by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week to address the issue.
Gregory Davila, public relations officer for the Juan F. Luis Hospital on St. Croix, said a conference was held at the hospital Thursday for the nurses and physicians.
Dr. Jose Rigau-Perez, chief of the epidemiology section of CDC's Dengue Branch, addressed the group about the signs and symptoms of dengue fever and how they can recognize and intervene when a patient's condition is deteriorating.
A similar conference was held on St. Thomas Wednesday for the district's healthcare professionals.
Davila said the meeting was sponsored by the Health Department to educate healthcare workers after an infant died of dengue hemorrhagic fever on St. Thomas in October. He added there may have been about eight cases total on St. Thomas but only one fatality.
"No cases have been reported in the St. Croix District," Davila said, adding they still had to take necessary precautions.
Four closely related viruses transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito cause dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever.
According to the CDC Web site, persons infected with the disease do not gain immunity from the virus and can be re-infected up to four times in their lifetime.
The Aedes aegypti is a domestic, day-biting mosquito that prefers to feed on humans, according to the Web site.
Residents can prevent getting the illness by eliminating stagnant water in and around their homes and by wearing insect repellant containing Deet when going outside for extended periods. For more information, contact the Health Department at 774-9000 in St. Thomas/St. John or 773-1311 in St. Croix. For more information on dengue, check out the CDC Dengue Fever Home Page at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/dengue.

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