The chief health inspector of Antigua and Barbuda, Sharon Martin, has confirmed a concerning increase in dengue fever cases.
As of now, there have been 43 cases, with 14 new infections reported in the last week alone.
Martin warns that the actual number of cases could be higher, as some individuals fail to report their illness, which is a dangerous practice.
To account for this, health officials usually multiply the known figures by three.
Martin emphasizes the importance of taking necessary precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, which spread the disease.
However, she clarifies that dengue fever is not contagious like COVID-19 and can only be transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito.
If infected with dengue fever, individuals may experience a high fever, severe head and eye pain, and excruciating bone pain.
It is a serious and potentially life-threatening illness that can develop into dengue hemorrhagic fever, which involves bleeding.
Martin advises individuals to seek medical attention immediately if they experience any of these symptoms and to avoid self-treatment.
Furthermore, due to recent rainfall, there has been a proliferation of mosquitoes in the region. Therefore, it is crucial to wear appropriate clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants, when outdoors during peak mosquito activity times.
Homeowners are also urged to secure all water catchments properly and cover them to prevent mosquito breeding.
Even overflow and downpipes should be covered with gauze to prevent insects from getting into the water supply.