29 December, 2008


Is Anguilla at risk of a dengue Epidemic? Dengue is a mosquito-borne infection that causes severe flu-like illness. Sometimes it causes a lethal complication called dengue haemorrhagic fever. That‘s the worst form of dengue. All dengue is very painful and dangerous. It is also known as ‘break-bone fever’, for good reason. There is no known treatment for the virus itself. That's not to say that dengue is untreatable. They treat the symptoms. They can reduce the pain with analgesics, etc. Appropriate medical care can save the life of a patient. But, you have to know that the possibility of dengue exists in the community to begin to take precautions.

As The Anguillian Newspaper warned us last year:

Persons suspected of having dengue fever must see a doctor at once. As Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever is a deadly disease, early diagnosis and treatment can save lives. Unless proper treatment is given promptly, the patient may go into shock and die.

The characteristics of Dengue Fever/Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever are
• Abrupt onset of high fever.
• Severe frontal headaches.
• Pain behind the eyes which worsens with eye movement.
• Muscle and joint pains.
• Loss of sense of taste and appetite.
• Measles-like rash over chest and upper limbs.
• Nausea and vomiting.
• Severe and continuous stomach pains.
• Bleeding from nose, mouth, gums and skin bruising.

The virus is widespread, if not epidemic in the islands around us. It is in the BVI. It has long been a health problem this year in nearby St Maarten/St Martin.

Now, I read in the Anguillian Newspaper that the Anguillian public health authorities are spraying for mosquitoes. They warn us to shut our windows against the fogging. But, they don’t indicate why they are fogging, or what exactly the target is.

There are no known requirements for reporting the statistics on the incidence of dengue. No person in authority will admit to the prevalence of dengue in Anguilla.

Dengue is now in Anguilla? Shusssh! That is a national secret. We are not supposed to know about it. We are certainly not allowed to talk about it. It might damage the tourist industry. Anyone who even discusses dengue in Anguilla is betraying our tourist industry. And, the tourist industry is the real and only Anguilla, isn’t it? So, any discussion amounts to betraying Anguilla.

How widespread in Anguilla will dengue have to become before it becomes a dengue epidemic? Should we even be told that dengue is a problem that already exists in Anguilla?


  1. How many people will have to die before the Minister of Sports reveals the truth about this? If those victims are not United Front voters, will they count? If those victims are not the Minister's family, will they count?

    Protecting hotel owners instead of you and me is a sign of a banana republic.

  2. I have been receiving a lot of unpublishable anonymous comments. Especially at this time when the Ministers are going after their pound of flesh from me in their court case, I hope you will understand why I have had to delete them.


  3. Mr Mitchell, sometimes I wonder if you and your 'fans' are 1)downright malicious, 2) just saying things to start dialogue on a topic or 3) just hell bent on calling down the Government of Anguilla.

    The fogging programme is nothing new and has been around since I can remember. Every year, especially during vector awareness month in October, the Environmental Health Unit warns Anguillians about mosquitos and the threat of dengue - does veto the mosquito ring a bell? Furthermore the fogging programme is more prevalent around rainy periods, like now.

    You have every right to raise a question on any issue and to have your opinion, but some times I wish you would be fair and balance in the reporting of your stories. The Department of Health Protection is doing a good job and should be commended for it, not put down in some 'witch hunt' conspiracy theory.


  4. Kris,

    I have two confirmed cases of dengue in December alone. The Health Department tells me there have been none. That discrepancy makes me curious.

    The rainy season started in July and ends in December. The fogging was announced, so far as I am aware, for the first time this year, only in December. I find that is downright careless and inexcusible.

    No where near me has been fogged so I cannot confirm, but I am told by residents in areas that have been fogged that the fogging is not being properly done. For example, Public Health have not been returning three or four days later to fog the new mosquitos that hatch out after the first fogging. I am disgusted.

    If all my correspondents are wrong and misleading me, someone will hopefully come on and give the true facts.


  5. The Department of Health Protection? Is this some new bureaucracy that's been kept secret until now? Has there been some sudden crisis or epidemic that's forced government to create this new agency and they just forgot to tell us? What's going on? This is my island, my body and my health and I have a right to know what's happening.

  6. The Department of Health Protection is upstairs the Bureau of Sand Mining Prevention, down the hall from the Ombudsman, just before you get to the Freedom of Information Office.

  7. I would think so


    Residents urged to take preventive steps against dengue fever in BVI

    Published on Friday, December 12, 2008 Email To Friend Print Version

    ROAD TOWN, BVI: The Environmental Health Division (EHD) is urging the people in the British Virgin Islands to take preventative steps to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquito and reduce the spread of dengue fever in the Territory.

    Vector Control Programme Manager Minchington Israel explained that dengue fever is a flu-like illness that is transmitted by the bite of an infected female Aedes aegypti mosquito, which breeds in clear or clean standing water in and around the home.

    Israel advises that certain preventative measures can be taken to eliminate the mosquito and its breeding sites. He also recommends that flower vases and flower pots with saucers filled with water should be emptied and saucers wiped clean weekly since they are good breeding ground for mosquito larvae. .

    He also recommends that wet flower pots be replaced with dirt or alternatively, gravel or ornamental stones may be used with the water level below the stones.

    Additionally cisterns should be sealed with concrete and downspouts covered with mosquito netting, cloth, plastic or another suitable cover. Buckets, pails and other such containers used to store water indoors should be kept tightly covered to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.

    Israel recommends that items such as old tyres should be disposed of at the incinerator plant, punctured or secured under shelter to prevent the collection of water.

    He further suggests that any other items such as discarded laundry tanks, sinks, face basins, buckets, toilet bowls, bottles, tin cans, shoes and toys that can collect water, and become potential breeding sites, should be also properly disposed of at the incinerator plant, turned over or secured under shelter.

    The Vector Control Unit also recommends that pet owners wash their pet dishes with a rag or a sponge weekly to destroy mosquito eggs. Furthermore, the unit advocates that roof guttering should also be cleaned weekly to ensure that dirt and leaves do not trap rain water and allow mosquitoes to breed. All gardening equipment such as watering pans, shovels and wheelbarrows should also be secured under shelter or turned over to prevent the collection of water.

    Dengue cannot be transmitted from person to person and the Vector Control Unit is encouraging all residents to take the recommended measures to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes and the potential spread of the disease.

    The classic signs and symptoms of dengue include a very high fever, an intense frontal headache, pain behind the eyes or retro-orbital pain as well as muscle and joint pains. Infected persons may develop a rash and if this occurs, they are advised to seek immediate medical attention.

    The Environmental Health Division functions as part of the Ministry of Health and Social Development which endeavours to provide leadership in the promotion of health, social wellness and a safe environment as positive resources for maintaining healthy lifestyles.

    Reads : 401

  8. Don,

    I'm a Brazilian. Dengue is widely found across Brazil and Latin America in general. I've had Dengue and I can assure you that's it is not to be taken lightly and is significantly more unpleasant than the Flu.

    There are four strains of Dengue and infection by one strain, although providing life immunity against that particular virus type, will not prevent infection by any of the other three strains. Unfortunately, in subsequent infections, there is a significantly greater chance of developing Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. Dengue causes blood platelet count to fall, even in 'benign' cases, so there is always an increased chance of bleeding from the second day of the fever. The problem is that when the platelet level drops too far, the patient may start to hemorrhage internally causing shock, which can be fatal if not treated effectively.

    I hope that the Government of Anguilla has the situation on control. All Anguillan residents should be vigilant and work together to stop the establishment of Dengue on Anguilla. The only way is to stop the Dengue (and Malaria carrying) mosquito Aedes Aegypti from breeding. That often boils down to simply making sure that there are no stagnant pools of water around your house or in your neighbourhood i.e. bottles, old tyres, plant pots etc.,

    Good luck!


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