Vector Control activities Enhanced as Dengue cases rise
Sept. 14, 2023
- Increased risk as Type 2 and 4 cases detected
KINGSTON, Jamaica. Wednesday, September 13, 2023: The Ministry of Health and Wellness is intensifying its vector control activities even as it notes above normal activity surrounding Dengue Fever.
The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton made the disclosure today while speaking at the Ministry’s quarterly press briefing.
“Data from the Ministry’s National Surveillance Unit shows that as of Monday, September 11, 2023, there were 316 suspected, presumed and confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne disease, Dengue. This represents an almost 5-fold increase when compared to the corresponding period in 2022, with 65 cases reported,” Dr. Tufton said.
At the same time, the Ministry has identified from laboratory results a total of 39 positive cases.
Of these, 38 were identified as Dengue Serotype 2 and one (1) identified as Dengue Serotype 4. While all parishes have had cases of Dengue reported, confirmed cases were detected in Kingston & St. Andrew; St. Thomas; St. Catherine; Westmoreland; Portland and St. Ann.
Parishes in the Southeast - St. Thomas, Kingston and St. Andrew and St. Catherine were noted to have the highest dengue activity at this time, when the data is reviewed from a per population perspective.
While Jamaica has seen continuous local transmission of the Dengue virus since 1977, the presence of the Type 2 strain has not predominated in the population since 2010. This heightens the island’s risk of a possible outbreak.
Given the above normal activity, the Ministry implemented its Enhanced Vector Control Programme in July, the objective of which is to stem the possibility of an outbreak later in the year.
“This has triggered several actions by the Ministry including the request for the sum of J$200M to provide support for the removal of bulky waste and drain-cleaning exercises across the country. An allotment will also be sent Municipal Corporations to conduct clean up works in communities,” the Minister added.
Children and Teens Most Affected
Meanwhile, of the 39 confirmed cases of Dengue, a total of 20 belong in the 5 to 14-year-old age group. The Ministry has commenced inspections in schools and is expected to complete the checks by the end of this month.
“I am therefore urging parents to exercise vigilance with their children and teens. Parents are being urged to treat children who have a fever with paracetamol only and to avoid aspirin and aspirin-like medications such as ibuprofen and diclofenac,” the Minister said.
Additional Vector Control Activities
Approximately 500 temporary vector control workers have been engaged and deployed across the island to high-risk communities since the enhanced programme commenced. This number will increase depending on the epidemiological situation.
At the same time, fogging and treatment of breeding sites have been intensified with fogging activities extended to seven days per week. Some 60 vehicles are available across the intensifieditate the intensified activities. Additionally, the Ministry has assessed its stock level of insecticide and is assured that adequate stock is in place to facilitate intensification of vector control activities in case of an outbreak. Replacement stock is also being procured.
Members of the public are asked to call their respective Parish Health Department to request fogging in their areas as necessary, but schedules are available on the website and social media platforms of the Regional Health Authorities.