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Something to Keep an Eye On: Dengue

One of my favorite accessories – my mosquito zapper

So as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I am a social media lurker. I may not comment, but I am always reading. I’ve been reading your posts, and I recognize the concern about dengue. It was even mentioned on Good Morning America this morning. 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with dengue – pronounced deng·gay – it is a viral infection that is spread from mosquitos to people. Many people who get dengue show no symptoms at all. Others experience high fever, headache, body aches, nausea, and rash. Dengue is currently present in the US Virgin Islands and numerous islands throughout the Caribbean.

That being said, the majority of people who visit St. John are not going to go home with dengue. There have only been six confirmed cases in the US Virgin Islands this year, according to the USVI Epidemiology department (and, as always, lots of talk of unreported cases), but it’s better to be aware than uninformed.

(Click here to view the USVI’s current dengue stats.)

Outbreaks of dengue usually happen every 10 years or so, according to Esther M. Ellis, the USVI’s Epidemiologist. The last outbreak was back in 2012, so I guess we are due, unfortunately.

The culprit for this mess is the Aedes aegypti mosquito. You can easily spot this particular type of mosquito because it has striped black and white legs. I know that sounds crazy, but you can actually see the stripes when they are hovering around you. This type of mosquito typically bites around dawn and dusk. The CDC estimates that nearly half the world’s population lives in an area where this mosquito is found. This is not a St. John-specific issue.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito

I remember when everyone panicked about Zika back in 2016. I actually woke up with Zika the morning of my 37th birthday. Was it fun? No. Was I still able to have a good time with my friends that weekend? Yes. A dozen of us went up to Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda for the weekend and had an amazing time. One perk I got was free golf cart rides around the resort, because I was a little too weak to walk super far. It’s the little things in life. 🙂

A friend of mine, however, is on day 11 of having dengue and is rather miserable. The virus affects everyone differently.

So what can you do? Wear bug spray. You know that funny looking tennis racket in your villa? It’s a mosquito zapper, and should be your best friend. Use it. You will get a ridiculous amount of joy by hearing the zaps when you get those little buggers. If you see standing water near your villa or condo, empty is out. That’s a breeding ground for mosquitos.

But most importantly, do not panic. This, too, shall pass. St. John is still the best place in the world.

Want to learn more about St. John? Looking to take an island tour?

Learn more here –> See the island of St. John with a resident. See the nooks and crannies that many visitors miss. Explore the beaches, historical sites, perhaps a tiki bar or two, and much more. Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.

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