Increased mosquito control activities including community based education and promotion, fogging and source reduction - treatment and destruction of breeding sites – have so far taken place in 162 communities across the island since the Ministry of Health started its intensified programme a week ago. Approximately 500 communities have been scheduled to be fogged under the programme.
The country has recorded an increase in the number of cases of dengue fever since the start of the year, with the Ministry reporting 663 suspected cases as at September 15, 2012 compared to 887 for all of 2011.
Director of Health Promotion and Protection, Dr. Kevin Harvey says the intensified activities will continue for at least the next three weeks. “While the Ministry continues to destroy breeding sites and adult mosquitoes in various communities, we urge members of the public to assist by looking around their homes and getting rid of anything in which mosquitoes can breed. Vases, old tyres, discarded cans, flower pots, barrels, drums and anything else that can store water can harbor mosquitoes,” he explained.
Dengue fever is spread when an Aedes Aegypti mosquito bites an infected person and then bites others.
Symptoms of dengue fever include pain behind the eyes, joint and muscle pain, weakness, fever and possibly a rash. If you have any of these symptoms and notice any signs of bleeding or severe abdominal pain, worsening weakness, difficulty in breathing or fainting and pale, cold or clammy skin, seek emergency care at the nearest hospital.
Persons with symptoms of dengue fever should not take aspirin nor any other non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
Figures from the Pan American Health Organization indicate that from 2001 to 2012 more than 31 countries in the Americas have seen a total of 9,847,209 cases of dengue. Central American and Caribbean countries are among those that presented the highest incidence rate during this period. Dengue in Jamaica is usually seasonal with increase in cases occurring after the rainy season or from September to March.
Jamaica is among very few countries in the Region with an integrated management strategy for the prevention and control of dengue fever.