Hanover deaths not dengue related - MOH
Fear that two recent unexplained deaths in Hanover might be dengue related has been dismissed by the Hanover Health Department, which says test done on the two bodies have turned up negative results.
According to Dr Kaushal Singh, the acting medical officer of health at the Hanover Health Department, when suspected cases are reported to them, a clustering analysis is done.
Singh added that this analysis looks at the related time of infection, the places of abode, and the age grouping of the affected individuals.
"The two cases of concern were over different periods, as one occurred in October 2017 while the other occurred in April 2018," Singh told last Thursday's monthly meeting of the Hanover Municipal Corporation.
"Both persons were from different areas of the parish and also of different age groups, so there was no connectivity with the two cases," added Singh, who also sought to allay fear that there is a dengue outbreak in the parish.
He said reports of a dengue outbreak are unfounded, and urged residents to remain calm.
In a written report presented to the meeting of the corporation, the health authorities said since January 2018, 10 suspected cases of dengue fever have been reported to them.
This was significantly fewer than the 22 reported cases over the same period last year.
"We are nonetheless stepping up our vector-control programme across the parish over the next two months with a view of controlling the reproduction of the Aedes aegypti mosquito population in the parish," said Singh.
He noted that 23 per cent of the 6,651 home containers inspected in the parish during May were found to be positive for mosquito breeding.
Singh underscored that dengue fever has been in Jamaica since 1924, and there have been suspected cases of deaths related to dengue across the island every year since then.
The issue of dengue deaths across the island was placed back on the front burner last Monday when the Ministry of Health reported that there were no cases recorded in the island since the start of this year.
Less than 24 hours later, the ministry changed its tune and said there has been one presumed dengue-related death which occurred in 2018.
"This classification is based on a positive Antibody Blood Test (IgM) in respect of one person who died. Confirmation is only made with a positive dengue PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test which in this instance was negative," said the ministry.
"Up to June 11, 2018, the Ministry of Health received a total of six notifications of possible dengue-related deaths. In addition to the case mentioned above, two other deaths fit the clinical case definition for dengue-related deaths. These other two deaths fit the clinical case definition but have no positive dengue results (IgM or PCR) and therefore remain suspected cases," added the ministry.
It said the remaining three of the six notifications do not fit the case definition for dengue-related deaths based on the information provided on the notifications, and are not considered suspected cases at this time and it continues to investigate these cases.