Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 18:09:33 +0200 (METDST) SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Oct 16, 2008 (AFP) - Hurricane Omar was rapidly losing strength as it headed out to sea Thursday, after pounding the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as a ferocious Category Three storm. At peak strength, Omar packed lashing 200-kilometer per hour (125-mph) winds and drenching rains, but by 1500 GMT maximum sustained winds were around 140 kilometers (85 miles) per hour. The US National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm at 1500 GMT was located 180 miles (290 kilometers) northeast of the Northen Leeward Islands, and moving northeast at about 23 miles (37 kilometers) per hour -- a track it was expected to follow for the next two days until it peters out. Omar sent the US and British Virgin Islands into lock-down after the storm upgraded late Wednesday to a Category Three on the Saffir-Simpson scale of one to five which measures the potential wind damage a hurricane might cause upon landfall. In Puerto Rico, Omar rendered roads impassable Thursday by flooding, toppled trees and debris, as authorities began the onerous task of cleaning up from the storm. Officials here reported no loss of life, but said more than 400 people were displaced by Omar and forced to take shelter elsewhere. Meanwhile classes at local schools were suspended for a second day in many localities. Rescue operators had set up 18 shelters in the island's east which was expected to receive the brunt of the rains and winds. The storm also lashed the islands of St. Barts and St. Maarten/Martin along with glancing blows on several other nearby islands, including Anguilla, and St. Eustatius. An oil refinery on St Croix in the US Virgin Islands shut down most of its 500,000 barrels a day operations in advance of the storm, "except those necessary to maintain power supply in the complex," spokesman Alex Moorhead said. The busy 2008 hurricane season has included devastating Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, which caused millions of dollars in damage in Haiti, Cuba and the United States. Hurricanes and tropical storms have killed hundreds across the Caribbean and in Mexico, with Haiti -- the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere -- being the worst hit.
USA (Virgin Islands) Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 09:00:59 -0400 (EDT) From: ProMED Source: Daily News,US Virgin Islands, 27Jul 2005 [edited] --------------------------------------------------- A Health Department epidemiologist said on Tuesday that lab results have confirmed 25 additional cases of dengue fever in the territory. The confirmed cases were all from St. Croix, Dr. Eugene Tull said. The results, which the Health Department received in the last 2 days, were from blood specimens collected between June 24 and July 6 and sent to a Centers for Disease Control and Infection lab for processing, Tull said. The specimens were collected at Luis Hospital. Of the additional 25 confirmed cases, 22 occurred in people who had had dengue before, Tull said. "This indicates that dengue has been very active on St. Croix in the past," Tull said. There are 4 types of the dengue virus, which is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Someone who has been infected by one of the strains and has developed immunity to it is still vulnerable to the other strains. People who previously have been infected with dengue and are infected again are at higher risk for developing serious complications, such as dengue hemorrhagic fever, Tull said. The figures released Tuesday raise the number of laboratory-confirmed dengue cases on St. Croix this year to 36. Tull said on Tuesday that he has yet to compile updated statistics on suspected and confirmed dengue cases on St. Thomas and St. John. The most recent information for the district, which the Health Department released almost a month ago, indicated that 9 dengue cases have been confirmed on St. Thomas and 3 on St. John. Tull said updated statistics for St. Thomas and St. John would be available by the end of the week. A dramatic increase in reports of suspected dengue on St. Croix followed publicity surrounding the death of a14-year-old girl from William's Delight June 18 at Luis Hospital, Tull said. She died from acute dengue shock syndrome. A statement Health released Monday indicated that more than 200 suspected cases of dengue [fever] have been reported on St.Croix. Public concern over the death, combined with the large number of suspected dengue cases on St. Croix and the fact that many have been clustered in certain neighborhoods, prompted the Health Department to identify dengue "hot spots" on St.Croix: William's Delight, Mutual Homes and Aureo Diaz housing communities, and Estates Barren Spot and Glynn, Tull said. A statement [the Health Department] released Tuesday night said that Environmental Health officers receiving training in entomology and surveillance from 2 CDC biologists on Tuesday morning discovered an abandoned building in William's Delight where more than 50 tires had been illegally dumped. The statement indicated that Health [Department] gave the V.I. Housing Authority, which is responsible for the community, noticed that it had 2 hours to get rid of the tires. The site had been cleaned by early afternoon, according to the statement. No one answered a Daily News call to the Housing Authority on Tuesday night. The statement did not say what was done with the tires. Discarded tires, when they fill with water, can provide a fertile breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus. Tull, who took the epidemiologist post at Health [Department] in February, said Tuesday that because the Health Department had not been consistently collecting dengue fever surveillance information in previous years, he does not have complete and accurate data to compare with the number of cases reported this year. "We're building a surveillance system right now," Tull said. "Next year, we won't have to be in this situation." Tull said it was not clear whether there are more cases occurring this year, or whether people experiencing symptoms are seeking medical help more quickly because of the girl's death. In October 2004, an infant died of dengue hemorrhagic fever on St. Thomas. Symptoms of dengue include high fever, joint and muscle pain, severe headache, backache, rash, eye pain, nausea and vomiting. Treatment includes rest, fluids and pain relievers. Tull said that while the Health Department has been consistently getting reports from both hospitals, health officials continue to suspect that they are not receiving reports of all suspected dengue cases from private physicians. Anyone with symptoms of dengue should consult a physician. Medical agencies, clinics and private physicians are supposed to report dengue cases to Tull at 773-1311 ext. 3241. [Byline: Joy Blackburn ]
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2004 00:46:45 +0200 (METDST) MIAMI, Sept 14 (AFP) - Hurricane warnings were issued Tuesday for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands as Tropical Storm Jeanne gained strength, the National Hurricane Center said. At 2100 GMT, the center of the storm was about 140 kilometers (85 miles) southeast of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands, with maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers an hour (60 miles per hour). The storm was expected to pass over St. Croix by early Wednesday on its way to Puerto Rico, bringing rainfall of up to 10 inches and storm surges of up to four feet above normal tides. Forecasters said Jeanne could become a hurricane by Wednesday. For a storm to become a hurricane, it would need maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour or more (75 miles per hour). Storm warnings also were in place for the Dominican Republic, British Virgin Islands and St. Kitts and Nevis. Jeanne would be the sixth hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic season, and the fourth in a month to hit the Caribbean. Many Caribbean islands are still recovering from Hurricane Ivan, which killed more than 70 people on a devastating rampage through the region since last week.
Date: Sat, 13 Sep 2003 14:48:20 +0200 (METDST) MIAMI, Sept 13 (AFP) - Hurricane Isabel weakened overnight into Saturday but remained "still very powerful" as it churned toward the Americas, the US National Weather Service said. Isabel was downgraded from a maximum-intensity category five to category four on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, after its wind speeds dropped slightly from 260 kilometers (160 miles) per hour to 240 kilometers (150 miles) per hour. At 5:00 am (0900 GMT), the eye of Hurricane Isabel was located about 730 kilometers (455 miles) northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and moving west at a rate of about 15 kilometers (nine miles) per hour, forecasters said. Isabel was expected to continue on that trajectory over the next 24 hours. "Large ocean swells and dangerous surf conditions are likely over portions of the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico over the next several days," it said. The US State Department on Friday authorized its non-essential diplomats to leave the Bahamas and warned US citizens against visiting the islands because of the damage that could be caused by Hurricane Isabel. In addition, the department advised US citizens already in the Bahamas to consider leaving as the full-strength hurricane headed westward toward the central Antilles. "The US State Department has given permission for non-emergency US personnel and family members of US personnel in the Bahamas to depart the Bahamas voluntarily," it said in a statement. US citizens should "avoid travel to the Bahamas at this time due to the threat posed by Hurricane Isabel," it said, adding: "US citizens in the Bahamas should consider departing until the storm has passed." The last Atlantic storm to reach maximum intensity was Hurricane Mitch, in 1998.
Date: 01/23/03 02:15AM From: "Jernigan, Daniel B." The following was submitted from the Respiratory Diseases Branch at the National Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC: Three residents of Denmark with clinical pneumonia after returning from St. Croix were diagnosed with legionellosis by urinary antigen testing. All 3 had visited St. Croix during the incubation period for their illnesses in November and December, 2002. The identification of 3 recent cases of legionellosis among visitors to St. Croix raises the concern of ongoing but undetected transmission of Legionella. The CDC is requesting physicians to maintain a heightened index of suspicion for cases of travel-associated Legionnaires' Disease among persons with pneumonia who visited St. Croix, Virgin Islands in the two weeks prior to their illness onset. If possible, these persons should have Legionella urinary antigen testing performed AND cultures of respiratory secretions for_Legionella. All isolates should be saved. In addition, we would be interested in any cases of Legionnaire's Disease diagnosed in the last year in persons who recently visited St. Croix. Suspected cases should be reported to your state health department and forwarded to the Respiratory Diseases Branch (phone 404-639-2215/fax 404-639-3970) at CDC.