Fri | Dec 13, 2019

Dengue cases increase in Portland

Published:Monday | September 16, 2019 | 12:28 AMGareth Davis Sr/Gleaner Writer

The Ministry of Health is appealing to residents in Portland to rid their surroundings of mosquito breeding sites, such as containers that can hold water. The appeal comes amid an increase in reported cases of dengue.

The disclosure was made by Dr Sharon Lewis, senior medical officer for Portland, during the monthly sitting of the Portland Municipal Corporation on Thursday. Lewis said that the parish has seen a steady increase in suspected cases of dengue fever, which is caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes.

“At the end of August, there were 276 suspected cases of dengue fever reported for 2019,” said Lewis.

She added: “For the first week of September, 13 suspected dengue fever cases have been [noted]. The information on the location of these dengue fever cases, whether they are suspected or confirmed, is what is used to help to guide our operations in the field, including how we organise our fogging schedule.”

She noted that the parish has three health districts: the Manchioneal health district, the Port Antonio health district, and the Buff Bay health district.

“So most of the cases are being seen in the Port Antonio health district, and this is from the increase during the period June to the first week of September,” she revealed.

Lewis said that a small team of vector-control workers, who receive support from 60 temporary workers, is deployed in ­communities across the parish and educate residents about how to control mosquito breeding and reduce the spread of ­mosquito-borne diseases.

“They search breeding sites for mosquitoes and treat or destroy them. They also record their findings, and we use this data to guide our activities. So far, there has been one confirmed death as it relates to dengue fever, which involved a small child last year,” Lewis added.

Several communities, including Prospect, Anchovy Land Settlement, Breastworks, Boundbrook, Stony Hill, Bryan’s Bay, and Fellowship, have been experiencing a mosquito nuisance.