Due to a rapid increase in the number of dengue cases reported in the island, the Ministry of Health has activated an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to respond to and monitor the effects of the outbreak.
The centre is located at the ministry's offices at 2-4 King Street, downtown Kingston.
A release from the ministry stated that it has intensified its dengue control response after weekly monitoring by the National Surveillance Unit of the Ministry of Health and the Virology Reference Lab at the University of the West Indies indicated a rapid increase in the clinically suspected cases of dengue and laboratory confirmed cases, respectively.
The Ministry of Health declared a dengue outbreak during a press conference last week.
There have so far been 1,215 cases of dengue fever this year, compared with 887 last year.
Five persons have been suspected of dying from the illness with one confirmed via autopsy.
According to the ministry, the centre is the central place for the coordination of dengue response. The centre will collect information from all health regions where the necessary actions in response to the public will be generated.
As part of the Integrated Dengue Control Response, the ministry indicated that the National Dengue Technical Working Group has also been convened.
In addition, vector-control field activities to search for and destroy mosquito larvae as well as spraying to eliminate adult mosquitoes, have been intensified, patient care services have also been organised to minimise morbidity and mortality from dengue.
"All parishes have been engaged in vector-control activities prioritising the communities with confirmed cases. The Ministry of Health will be focusing on areas such as unplanned settlements and communities where cases have been identified," the ministry said.
"The ministry continues to appeal to the public to search for and destroy mosquito breeding sites in and around their homes, workplaces and communities," it added.
Persons with severe symptoms of dengue, dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome must seek immediate medical attention and avoid taking aspirin or any other anti-inflammatory drug such as Ibuprofen.
Severe symptoms of dengue include, continuous pain, cold and clammy skin, bleeding from the nose, mouth and/or gums, skin bruises, frequent vomiting, difficulty breathing and fainting.
Persons wishing to contact the centre should call 1-888-1-LOVE or 1-888-663-5683.