Sun | Mar 29, 2020

No dengue outbreak, says health ministry

Published:Tuesday | October 2, 2018 | 12:00 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer
Principal medical officer and national epidemiologist, Dr Karen Webster-Kerr.

With at least 192 suspected cases of dengue reported since the start of the year, principal medical officer and national epidemiologist Dr Karen Webster-Kerr at the Ministry of Health said based on most recent statistics, there is no outbreak of the disease.

"Dengue is always seen in Jamaica, so we would always have cases. But if there has been an increase we have not seen it yet," said Webster-Kerr.

"This time of the year is when we have the seasonal increase of dengue. We expect an increase during this time from September to October. If it goes above what is expected or what is observed, then we would say we are having an outbreak."

Her declaration comes after The Gleaner received a report from a doctor at a private health facility in the Corporate Area, who said he treated at least four persons who were determined to have dengue in one day.

"Last week there were two cases that were severe enough for them to be admitted due to a complication of dengue hemorrhagic fever, and that is significant. There were two other cases that were uncomplicated, so they could go home," said the doctor, who spoke to The Gleaner on the condition of anonymity.

The medical practitioner said that there could be even more cases of dengue that have gone unreported.

"The thing is, it would be hard to monitor. Normally in the public sector when you are having an increase in fever cases, there is more surveillance where they actually look out for them and write up specific forms for them, and so there it would be easier for them to identify. In the private sector, we don't do that so much," the doctor said.

In the meantime, Webster-Kerr said the Government has been increasing their vector-control activities.

"From July, actually, our activities generally increase and we have the campaign related to what we can do to prevent breeding sites. We also hired additional persons to help within the community as it relates to vector control," she said.

nickoy.wilson@gleanerjm.com