Trinidad reports third dengue fever death

Trinidad has announced its third fatality from the hemorrhagic form of dengue fever, health officials reported on July 25.

Epidemiologists from the health ministry confirmed that dengue fever has been the cause of three deaths and are investigating two others, according to Health News.

Anton Cumberbach, Trinidad’s chief medical officer, told Health News that approximately 600 people have been identified as contracting the disease so far this year. Dengue fever has no vaccine and typically causes fever, headaches and extreme joint and muscle pain.

Throughout the Caribbean, public health services are straining to keep up with the disease. Health officials in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico have warned that this year’s outbreak could reach epidemic proportions and are urging action, such as spraying for mosquitoes, to be taken.

Unusually wet weather in May and June has created favorable conditions for the mosquito that carries the virus. Residents have been told to eliminate standing water and wear repellent.

Dengue fever was once thought to be close to gone from Latin America and the Caribbean, but, since the early 1980s, it has made a comeback. Tourism and population migration have spread different strains of the disease, increasing the risk of multiple exposure, while global warming has increased the disease's range. There have been suspected cases of dengue in Florida this year, where the disease was thought to be nonexistent.