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Health Officials Urge Steps Against Dengue

July 5, 2005 – With the number of dengue fever cases in the territory on the rise, Department of Health Commissioner Darlene Carty is urging residents to do what they can to eliminate stagnant water breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
According to a press release issued Thursday, the Health Department has received 240 suspected dengue fever reports from St. Croix alone, with 39 cases from the Frederiksted Health Clinic since January.
Some 55 reports from the Juan F. Luis Hospital of dengue fever cases have come since the June 18 death of a teenage girl at the hospital, the press release said. The girl, Kamarah Isaac, died at the hospital from dengue shock syndrome at the age of 14 (see "Health Department: St. Croix Girl Died of Dengue Shock Syndrome").
The department's epidemiologist, Dr. Eugene Tull, added that more than 60 percent of the cases were people who were infected for the second time. "The risk of severe symptoms increases with the number of dengue infections," Tull said.
He added that prior to June 18, reports of suspected cases were between 18 and 20 per month. "Since that time, the reporting numbers have increased."
Carty, who previously said health officials would be going door-to-door this week to educate residents about the disease, said those visits have been postponed because of inclement weather. However, the press release did provide a list of dengue fever "hot spots" on St. Croix: Mutual Homes and Auero Diaz housing communities, as well as estates William's Delight, Barren Spot, Whim, and Glynn.

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