DF is a viral disease that is transmitted from an infected to a non-infected person, by the bite of an Aedes aegypti mosquito. The Asian Tiger mosquito A
edes albopictus is also a potential vector of this virus, but it is not commonly endemic in the Caribbean.
DF is characterised by The sudden onset of Fever, headache with retro-orbital pains, backache, loss of appetite and muscle and joint pain.
The incubation period is 3-15 days, usually 3-5 days. By and large, the infection is self-limiting, and the patient infected with one of the 4 Dengue serotypes recovers after being unwell for 10-15 days.
Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF) and Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS) are the severe forms of DF that are characterised by bleeding under the skin and internally, which may lead to death as a result of circulatory failure. DHF and DSS may be fatal if not properly monitored and treated under Intensive Care Unit settings.
All countries in the Caribbean region have in the past suffered from the outbreak of DF, and this has varied from year to year based on the number of factors including:
The presence of an effective vector mosquito – Aedes aegypti (in all countries).
The presence of an infectious (DF virus infected) host.
The presence of a DF susceptible host to whom the virus could be transmitted. This is usually the case, since while DF virus confers an immunity on its victim, this immunity is only effective for that particular serotype. Since there are 4 different DF serotypes, a person would have had to have been exposed to all DF types to benefit from the total immune protection caused from DF exposure.