With an escalating number of reported cases of Dengue on the mainland, Roatan Municipal Health Unit Health Region Number 11[MHUHR 11] is moving towards controlling potential upsurges on the island by documenting infected patients and organizing and coordinating awareness campaigns in affected neighborhoods. The highest number of documented cases on Roatan in 2010 has been 42 in one July week.
According to MHUHR 11 this is not significantly more than previous years. “There haven’t been nearly as many cases on Roatan as there have been on the mainland,” says Hilaria Martinez, statistic specialist and Head of Epidemiology at Region #11. The MHUHR 11 governs all the health systems on the island and oversees matters of disease and epidemic prevention, regulation and administration.
There have been no reported hemorrhagic cases of Dengue on the island only classic Dengue cases have been diagnosed. Dengue is a febrile illness affecting infants, young children and adults with symptoms ranging from a mild fever, to incapacitating high fever, with severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, and rash. “There has been no need to transport any sick person to the mainland for treatment, and no one on the island has died from Dengue,” says Dr. Adalberto Mejia, also with the municipal Health unit. Dengue has been spread out more-or-less evenly over Roatan, with a slightly more concentrated number of cases in Coxen Hole and Sandy Bay.
One of the people who contracted Dengue was Kristofer Goldman, an American resident in Sandy Bay. “It started with fevers in the evenings for about seven or eight days, and because it wasn’t that bad I didn’t go to the doctor, just took ibuprofen for the pain,” Said Goldman.
A few days afterwards he had become dehydrated and felt ill. Goldman went to the Woods Medical Center in Coxen Hole where he tested positive for classic Dengue. The centers doctors sent him home and prescribed acetaminophen.
A couple of days later he woke up with a splitting headache. He called Dr. David Williams for a house call and credits him with saving his life. Dr. Williams diagnosed Goldman with 41 C fever which was beginning to give him hallucinations. Dr. Williams told him to head back to the hospital where he was diagnosed with malaria in addition to Dengue. “My wife’s fifty-something cousin on the mainland had the same symptoms and died, so I was lucky,” Goldman said. “If I hadn’t gone to the hospital and received the medical attention I did I think I would have died.”
Goldman says that he doesn’t know where he contracted Dengue and Malaria, but his work as a music teacher takes him to places throughout Roatan. According to MHUHR 11, the mosquitoes carrying the Dengue virus breed in stagnant water containers and ponds especially plentiful in poor areas of the island. Houses with no running water use these containers to store water and offer an increased risk to health of the people living the area. [/private]