Thu | Jul 18, 2019

Combating dengue fever - St James to get more resources

Published:Thursday | January 10, 2019 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton demonstrates how to treat a drum of water at the back of a premises in Norwood, Montego Bay during a tour of the St James community yesterday. The tour was conducted as part of the Health Ministry's vector-control programme to address the spread of dengue fever across the island.


Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has announced that St James will soon receive 50 vector-control workers to complement the 12 who are currently working in the parish as efforts continue to control the dengue fever outbreak affecting the country.

Tufton made the announcement while touring a section of the Norwood community in Montego Bay yesterday as part of the ministry's vector-control programme to address the breeding of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads the dengue virus.

"Currently, the parish of St James has 12 permanent vector-control workers. They will have another 50 in short order. We currently have 21 temporary workers with the 12, but ultimately, we'll get up to about 50 (permanent workers), and the team will be deployed based on the vulnerable communities in the parish," said Tufton.

"On the curative side, we've extended the opening hours of the main health centre in the parish, and we will continue to monitor the situation at the hospital level to provide responses to those who require treatment."

The St James Health Department will also receive additional equipment to combat the breeding of mosquitoes. This will include four additional vehicles to add to the two currently available to transport vector-control workers and five new fogging machines, to be supplied by the end of the week.




Last year, 800 cases of dengue fever were reported across the country, of which the St James Health Department recorded 20 notifications of dengue fever, up from 10 in 2017. Of those 20 cases, one was confirmed.

Since the start of 2019, there have been 14 notifications of dengue fever in the parish, but so far, there are no confirmed cases.

Tufton noted that there were no deaths from dengue fever in St James last year, which he credited to the health department's public education campaign on the disease.

"Luckily for the parish of St James, we don't have any deaths linked to the dengue virus from last year, and it appears to me that the team has been working very hard in providing information and carrying out inspections," said the minister.