Bermuda has been hit by a confirmed imported case of dengue this year, a government official said.
The spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health added that there had been a further three suspected imported cases of the virus, but emphasised there was no significant risk to public safety. The announcement came after an outbreak of dengue in the Philippines was declared a national health epidemic.
The South-East Asian country’s Department of Health said that 146,062 cases had been reported from January to July 20, up 98 per cent from the same period last year.
More than 600 people have died. Bangladesh has also been hit by the country’s worst outbreak of dengue, where tens of thousands of cases have been reported this year as well as several deaths.
Requested information on where the cases originated was not provided yesterday, although it is understood they did not happen this month.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection that causes flu-like illness, and can develop into a potentially lethal complication called severe dengue.
The World Health Organisation said global incidence of the disease had grown dramatically in recent decades, with about half the world’s population now at risk.
The virus is found in tropical and subtropical climates, mostly in urban and semiurban areas.
It is transmitted by female mosquitoes, mainly of the species Aedes aegypti.
The spokeswoman said that Bermuda had maintained “good control” over the types of mosquitoes capable of transmitting the virus.
She added: “As a result, Bermuda does not have the vector most competent in spreading dengue.”
The spokeswoman said the island was prepared to handle confirmed and suspected cases of the virus.
She added: “Public education about mosquito control continues, including within the setting of the airport for travellers to areas where mosquito-borne diseases are problematic.
“Community physicians and hospitalists communicate with the Epidemiology Surveillance Unit on case management of suspected cases.
“Actual cases would be managed by supportive care by community physicians, or in hospital as required by hospitalists and infectious disease specialists.”
The spokeswoman said that the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department and community physicians work together in early identification and treatment of suspected cases. The Public Health Act requires residents to keep their property free of water build-ups where mosquitoes can breed.
The spokeswoman said properties should be scanned once a week in the summer, and water should be emptied from items such as buckets, plant pots, saucers, tyres, wheelbarrows and plastic tarps.