Barely four years after the Ministry of Health and Wellness in Jamaica declared a dangerous Dengue Fever outbreak in 2019, the ministry has again in 2023 declared another dangerous outbreak of dengue fever in the country.
In a communique by the Ministry on Saturday 23rd of September 2023, the outbreak was declared a national health issue.
Recent figures of most affected areas with the dengue outbreak revealed that Kingston & St. Andrew, St. Catherine & St. Thomas are mostly hit with the current outbreak, on Friday September 23rd 2023, the country recorded 565 suspected cases of dengue, 78 cases out of this number had already been confirmed.
Jamaica is one of the countries with incessant dengue outbreak, this Iceland has recorded 7 major outbreak between 1995 and 2018.
In 2019 between Jan 1st to January 21st 339 suspected and confirmed cases including six deaths were recorded, also in the previous year of 2018, a total of 986 suspected and confirmed cases including 13 deaths were recorded.
What Is Dengue Fever?
Dengue Fever is an infectious disease of the tropics transmitted by mosquitoes and characterized by rash and aching head and joint. A type of mosquito- borne viral disease occurring in tropical and subtropical areas.
Dengue viruses are spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito, this type of mosquito is known as (Ae. aegypti or Ae. albopictus) mosquito.
Dengue Fever Symptoms
Most people who get dengue won’t have any symptoms, in most cases, the most common symptoms are high fever, headache, body ache, nausea and rash, these are people with mild dengue fever.
The severe form of dengue fever is called dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), this can cause serious bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure (shock) and even death.
This fever is most common in Southeast Asia, The Western Pacific island, Latin America and Africa. Recently the disease has been spreading to new areas, including local outbreak in Europe and Southern part of the United States.
Jamaica has reported an increasing number of outbreaks concurrently since 1995.
The ministry of health and wellness said the recent outbreak is the dominant strain of dengue type II, which is the one of the deadliest and has not been predominant in Jamaica since 2010.
This type II strain can develop serious health conditions which can be fatal in addition to fever or in people with previous dengue history.
Although between Friday September 23rd, 2023 and now, there are no dengue related deaths, except for six deaths that are being investigated.
Meanwhile, the newly installed President of the Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ) Dawn- Marie Richards said the association is satisfied with measures being implemented by the ministry of health and wellness to address the ongoing dengue outbreak.
She said local health authorities will immediately begin to educate the public about the outbreak, and the authorities will commence fogging, searching, identifying and destroying mosquitoes.
Fielding questions from journalists during the Association 54th Conference on Saturday, Richards said dengue is endemic to Jamaica and a type of outbreak like this is expected almost every four years, so we have put a system in place, the wheels have been in motion to manage dengue as necessary.
The ministry charged the citizens to pay close attention to news and bulletins from the government. Citizens are also urged to sanitize their environment, clearing of bushes, removal of cans and tyres, particularly items that can retain dirty water which can support breeding of mosquitoes.
Jamaica has managed dengue over the years, so it is expected the ministry will manage the situation as a region with most experience in handling dengue related outbreak.
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