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Aug 29, 2005

Dengue suspected in child’s death

Story PictureBut as the country’s flagship hospital tries to recover from that unbelievable snafu, tonight Belizean medical officials have another headache to deal with, one that might have much worse implications for the public: a suspected case of dengue hemorrhagic fever. Reports to News Five indicate that on Friday, ten-year-old Mario Espinoza of Hattieville Village was admitted to ward at the K.H.M.H. but within twenty-four hours, the boy was dead. This afternoon, Chief of Medical Staff at the K.H.M.H., Dr. Fernando Cuellar, told News Five that while the deadly fever is the number one suspect, it will take another week for samples sent abroad for testing to confirm or deny those fears.

Dr. Fernando Cuellar, Chief of Staff, K.H.M.H.
“Three days ago, we had the passing of a child, a ten-year-old that we have a clinical suspicion of hemorrhagic fever. That’s the only official suspicion that we have, so to speak. And of course one of the possibilities that it’s hemorrhagic dengue, so once that red flag went up, we started the protocol of notification and proper management of the case in terms of the public health part, notifying the bigger Ministry of Health, requesting a post-mortem–which the family has agreed to and is scheduled for tomorrow morning. And we’ve also collected samples for special testing with this young man.”

Janelle Chanona
“What did he come in with?”

Dr. Fernando Cuellar
“He came in with very high fever, also what is called shock, circulatory collapse, where his blood pressure and everything was way down. And what made us very much alert was the little bleedings that he had; something called petequias, commonly known as black and blue spots, very small, which made us suspicious of hemorrhagic fever.”

Janelle Chanona
“He lives in a tightly knit community, what are the implications for his neighbours?”

Dr. Fernando Cuellar
“Well I’m not sure the exact data on where he lives and so forth, but definitely the public health people have been notified and they will take care of that aspect of the community and the surroundings where he lived.”

Janelle Chanona
“Is there anything you want to say to the public at large, they might be hearing of dengue already as far as an outbreak out there, but now that it might have cost a life, is there any special precaution anybody can take at this point?”

Dr. Fernando Cuellar
“I am sure that they have heard of the universal precaution of not keeping receptacles in yard, getting rid of the old tyres, tolerating the spraying so to speak, and come to the hospital or go to your clinics if you have a fever case so that it can be properly dealt with.”

It is understood that the Public Health Department will intensify its vector control programme to eradicate the mosquitoes which carry dengue.

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