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Dengue losing its sting – Tufton

Published:Wednesday | March 6, 2019 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton is reporting that the dengue virus peaked around two to three weeks ago and that normality could return to the health sector in another month.

The minister’s disclosure came yesterday in Gordon House where the Standing Finance Committee of Parliament examined the budgetary allocations to his ministry.

Even while admitting that the virus was still a clear and present danger, Tufton indicated that there was reason to be optimistic as dengue cases are tapering off.

“Still very sensitive to the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and the fact that they are out there but the team is still in the field, still working, but we have reason to be hopeful we may get back to normality by the end of March,” Tufton shared.

He noted that as at March 4 this year, the ministry had classified 3,444 cases as suspected, presumed or confirmed dengue cases, with 1,037 in 2018 and a further 2,407 since the start of the year.

The monthly number of cases revealed that the outbreak continued into February 2019. However, the weekly number of cases suggests that the outbreak peaked in week four of this year.

The largest number of suspected/presumed/confirmed dengue cases from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018 was recorded in Kingston and St Andrew (253). From January 1, 2019 to February 28, 2019, the largest number of suspected/presumed/confirmed dengue cases was recorded in St Catherine (447).

The highest rates of suspected/presumed/confirmed dengue cases per 100,000 population for December 2018, January 2019 and February 2019 were reported from St Ann.

So far, more than $250 million has been expended to combat dengue fever, the ministry has disclosed.