Tue | Dec 5, 2023

Householders urged to welcome vector control workers

Published:Sunday | September 24, 2023 | 3:40 PM
Public Health Officer at the St Catherine Health Department, Judith Brown addresses Saturday’s Health Emphasis Day at the Kitson Town Seventh-day Adventist Church in St Catherine. - JIS photo

As the Ministry of Health and Wellness heightens measures to contain the outbreak of dengue on the island, there is a call for householders to accommodate vector control workers.

Public Health Officer at the St Catherine Health Department, Judith Brown, said that the work of the vector control teams is crucial in ridding communities of breeding sites for the Aedes aegypti, which transmits dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases.

The workers conduct fogging exercises, search and destruction of breeding areas, and treat domestic and standing water.

“We have...a few cases of Chikungunya, Zika, and we also have this dengue now. So, when the vector control workers come around, we are asked to be very receptive to them,” Brown appealed.

She said that where persons do not have respiratory challenges, they should open their windows and doors when the vector control teams are fogging.

Brown was addressing Saturday's Health Emphasis Day activity at the Kitson Town Seventh-day Adventist Church in St Catherine.

The Public Health Officer, who is also the Acting Veterinary Officer for the parish, reminded that transmission of the dengue virus is not through person-to-person contact but by the “bite of the infected mosquito,” and as such, householders should take steps to prevent mosquito breeding in and around the home.

These include emptying dish drainers, keeping flowerpot saucers dry, punching holes in empty cans or tins, and adding oil to water storage containers.

“Find out the places where mosquitoes breed and prevent water from gathering in those areas. Use tiki tiki fish in stagnant water like pools and the fish will eat the mosquito larvae thus preventing the life cycle,” she further advised.

The Ministry of Health declared a dengue outbreak for Jamaica on Saturday.

In a release, the Ministry said the National Surveillance Unit has advised that the island has surpassed the dengue epidemic threshold for July and August and is on a trajectory to do the same for September.

“This means the country has seen an increase in the number of cases compared to what is normally seen during these months of the year,” the release said.

As of Friday, September 22, 2023, the country had recorded 565 suspected, presumed and confirmed cases of dengue.

Of that number, 78 cases had been confirmed with majority of the cases in Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine and St. Thomas.

The dominant strain is Dengue Type 2, which last predominated in 2010.

The ministry said there are “no dengue-related deaths classified at this time”, however, six deaths are being investigated.

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease that is usually a mild illness in which a person may get a fever, headache, joint, and muscle pains. Rest and adequate hydration are usually enough to see one through the period of illness. The recommended treatment for the fever is acetaminophen/paracetamol.

The ministry is urging members of the public not to use aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, or any of the medications/pain relievers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

These drugs, when used to treat the fever in dengue, have been known to increase the severity of the disease.

- JIS News

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