SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2018

Dengue fever hitting U.S. Virgin Islands

Health officials in the U.S. Virgin Islands have reported 85 suspected and confirmed cases of dengue fever there since June, most of which were reported in the last few weeks.

Part of the sharp increase in cases, according to V.I. Health Department Epidemiologist Eugene Tull, is due to an increased awareness of the reporting requirements for health care workers concerning the disease, even if no additional testing is conducted. Of the 85 reports in the St. Thomas and St. John region, 58 are suspected cases, seven are probable and 20 are confirmed, according to

“Some of those cases were ones that were a week or so old, and I got them after the fact," Tull told "But many of them were newer ones that came in during the week."

Suspected cases have dengue-like symptoms, which resemble the flu. Suspected cases are reported even if no additional testing is done. Probable cases may have flu-like symptoms, but at least have one trait that is indicative of dengue, such as a drop in platelets or a rash. Confirmed cases are those that test positive for dengue fever.

The health department announced that there have been no confirmed cases of dengue on St. Croix, reports. Six suspected cases there came back negative after testing.  

“Reports of individuals dying as a result of dengue fever on St. Croix, while not taken lightly, are unfounded,” a Health Department release stated, according to

Tull said there were abundant rumors on St. Croix, and officials wanted to make it clear that no cases had been confirmed on that island.

The number of suspected cases in the area is expected to rise.

“Things get progressively worse before they start getting better,” Tull said, reports. “I’d say that we’re probably going to see some more cases in October, but if people are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, then it’s going to wane after that.”