Since Jamaica declared a dengue outbreak in October, The country has on record 3,147 suspected, presumed, and confirmed Dengue cases as of Wednesday, November 8, 2023. Of the cases classified, 870 are confirmed cases. While Dengue Serotypes 2, 3 and 4 have been identified among the population, Dengue Serotype 2 remains the dominant strain. At the same time, there have been a total of nine Dengue-related deaths – seven classified as suspected and two as confirmed. No deaths have been recorded in the past two weeks.
All parishes continue to observe an increase in Dengue cases in 2023 compared to 2022 with Kingston & St. Andrew reporting the highest number of cases (776) for 2023. However, St. Thomas continues with the highest rate of 382.5 cases per 100,000 population, followed by Portland (221.0) and Trelawny with 160.0 per 100,000. The highest number of cases continues to be observed in the 5–14-year-old cohort at a rate of 360.3 cases per 100,000 population.
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Vector Control Interventions
The Ministry has begun distribution of drum covers in communities with high water storage with more than 500 drum covers distributed. Fogging sessions continue across the island both morning and evening with a total of 461 communities fogged and an additional 115 high-risk communities fogged. Bulky waste has been removed from an initial six parishes in more than 20 communities by the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA).
At the same time, some 20 drains have been cleaned and the approximately 700 temporary vector control workers continue to be engaged in search & destroy and health education activities across the island.
The Ministry again reminds the public that Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease that is usually a mild illness in which a person may get a fever, headache, joint, and muscle pains. Rest and adequate hydration are usually enough to see one through the period of illness. The recommended treatment for the fever is acetaminophen/paracetamol.
Members of the public are implored not to use aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, or any of the medications/pain relievers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs, when used to treat the fever in Dengue, have been known to increase the severity of the disease.
On occasions the illness can progress to Severe Dengue, which can result in organ failure as well as bleeding (haemorrhage), and severe fluid depletion that can lead to shock and death. Persons experiencing fever, vomiting, severe abdominal pain, bleeding under the skin (petechial rash), feeling very weak, or getting confused, are to seek immediate medical attention.
Persons are asked to play their part in ensuring that the Dengue cases are minimised by monitoring water storage containers for mosquito breeding; keeping surroundings free of debris; destroying or treating potential mosquito breeding sites; wearing protective clothing and using a DEET-containing mosquito repellant.