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West, Corporate Area most affected by dengue

Published:Wednesday | August 28, 2019 | 12:47 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton yesterday said that an assessment of dengue cases is suggesting that some parishes are being affected more than others.

Since the start of the year, there have been 21 suspected and confirmed dengue-related deaths, and Jamaica continues to see an increase in cases.

Tufton also revealed that there have been more than 4,000 cases classified as suspected, presumed or confirmed, which had their onset in 2019.

Kingston, St Andrew, St Catherine, Westmoreland, St James, Trelawny and St Ann are the parishes most affected.

“We are looking at all parishes and taking the approach and response seriously and urging citizens to be alert to the potential risks around mosquito-breeding sites,” Tufton said at a quarterly press briefing yesterday.

The minister pointed out that Jamaica was not unique, as the Pan American Health Organization has indicated that more than two million cases have been reported in Latin America and the Caribbean in the last seven months.

“The country is in a high state of alertness around the potential health challenges around dengue and Aedes aegypti mosquito,” Tufton said.

Although there has not been much rainfall, the minister urged Jamaicans to remain on the lookout for potential sites, as improper storage of water could create the perfect conditions for the breeding of mosquitoes.

An enhanced vector-control programme was launched earlier this month to respond to the challenges dengue poses to the country.

In addition to the 200 permanent staff in the Vector Control Unit, Tufton said 1,000 trained persons were deployed under the programme in particularly high-risk communities.

He added that more than 550 schools have been inspected or fogged and this will continue through to the first few weeks of school.

Tufton said that $130 million will be made available shortly, through the National Health Fund, for critical support to combat dengue via municipal corporations and the National Solid Waste Management Authority.

“The National Solid Waste [Management Authority] is critical because of the impact of solid waste as a breeding site for mosquitoes,” he said, adding that resources are available at the parish level for fogging.