Sun | Aug 9, 2020

Dengue outbreak over, but vigilance still necessary

Published:Friday | July 10, 2020 | 3:34 PM
Chief Medical Officer of Jamaica, Dr Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie

Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, the island's chief medical officer,  has declared that Jamaica's dengue outbreak is now over. 

This comes as data from the Ministry of Health and Wellness' National Epidemiology Unit showed that for the last four months of 2020, the number of dengue cases reported was below the epidemic threshold. 

March saw 37 dengue cases; April, two; May, eight; and June, two.

Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton made this revelation during his sectoral presentation recently. However, he cautioned members of the public to remain vigilant against this disease, which is in the country all year round.

“It is necessary that persons continue to maintain the vigilance in the practice of the measures to reduce the mosquito population, including searching their surroundings weekly for breeding sites and destroying them, covering water-storage containers, and punching holes in cans and bottles before discarding them,” Tufton said.

He added: “I want to take the opportunity to thank the Vector Control Unit and the entire public-health infrastructure for its focused attention to prevent, control, and treat dengue,” he said.

Since late 2018, the ministry has had several measures in place to minimise the impact of vector-borne diseases — dengue in particular. These measures included the employment of more than 1,000 vector-control workers, an increase in the number of dedicated vector-control vehicles, and collaboration with municipal corporations and the National Solid Waste Management Authority on the removal of bulky waste that harbours and provides a safe haven for the Aedes aegypti mosquito. 

The ministry says it will continue the activation of its mosquito-control activities, including a public-education campaign, home inspections and the destruction of breeding sites, and fogging.

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