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The Public Health Department, Customs and Border Control (CBC) and the Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) would like to offer clarity on questions originating in the community relating to the emergence of dengue in Cayman Brac.

There has been no outbreak of dengue in Cayman Brac, nor has there been any community transmission of the disease on any of the three islands to date this year.

Recently, an individual did test positive for the illness and is receiving the appropriate care.  The Public Health Department has ascertained that the individual contracted the virus prior to arriving in the Cayman Islands.

“Dengue is spread through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, namely Aedes aegypti and Aedes Albopictus” explains Dr Eryka Simmons, Acting Medical Officer of Health.  “The Dengue virus cannot be spread directly from person to person,” she added.

A person infected with dengue fever can infect other mosquitoes, which is why the MRCU is actively monitoring the situation and taking the necessary steps to minimize the possibility of community transmission.  “Earlier this year the MRCU increased our operations in the Sister Islands so as to cover more ground more often,” explains Acting Director, Mr. John Smith.  “We are working closely with the Public Health Department and other relevant agencies to do our part in mitigating the risk posed by the mosquito population.  This has meant a multi-faceted response that includes the use of Adulticid Spraying, Thermo Fogging, and utilizing barrier treatments in key locations throughout Cayman Brac,” he added.

“There is no cause for concern,” explains Chief Medical Officer, Dr Nick Gent.  “We are monitoring the incident and will keep everyone abreast of the situation.  The prevention of any, and all mosquito borne illnesses is an important public health objective. Everyone can play their part in reducing their risk from mosquito borne illnesses.”

Key steps in the prevention of dengue and other mosquito borne illnesses include:

• Using mosquito bite repellent containing at least 50% DEET

• Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when possible, and certainly during peak hours 

• Remove standing water sources such as tyres, buckets and other containers around the home and places of business where mosquitoes could lay eggs 

• Use screens where possible 

• Kill mosquitos inside your home

• Report potential breeding sites to the Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU).

The MRCU’s Service Request Form allows residents to report potential breeding sites, as well as request a property inspection and report a mosquito biting problem, among other things.  For more information log on to mrcu.ky or 949-2557.