Nadisha Hunter, Staff Reporter
The Ministry of Health is to intensify its mosquito control programme in all parishes in wake of an increase in the number of reported cases of dengue fever in the island.
Director of the Health Promotion and Protection Unit in the Ministry of Health, Dr Kevin Harvey, said yesterday that the ministry was looking at some of the steps required to diminish the mosquito population within the short term.
Harvey said so far there have been 507 reports of the disease, of which 180 cases have been confirmed by laboratory tests.
He signalled that he was not ruling out that the situation could reach an outbreak, with the increase in the number of reports.
"We could have an outbreak. The mosquito population is there, the breeding conditions are right, the rainy season is there, so we have to take the necessary steps to ensure that we don't get to the state where we are having thousands of cases like we did when we had that significant outbreak back in 2007," he told The Gleaner yesterday.
"The number of cases are increasing and we are, therefore, asking the public to take the necessary precautions," he continued.
Endemic to ja
There were more than 1,700 confirmed cases of the illness in 2007.
Dengue is endemic to Jamaica and from time to time, there is a seasonal increase in the number of reported cases in the country.
It is caused by a virus transmitted from the Aedes aegypti mosquito that can breed easily in and around the home.
Harvey said the ministry has been receiving reports from all parishes but it was more prevalent in the town centres.
"Dengue is endemic to Jamaica. It exists in all parishes, in all communities, it is more prevalent in densely populated areas such as in town centres," he explained.
Harvey further stated: "The Aedes aegypti mosquito lives in communities, in households, in flowerpots, in tyres, in drums that we use to store water and, therefore, in order to prevent dengue, we have to prevent the breeding of the mosquito by cleaning up these breeding sites."