Jamaica News, Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton and other officials toured sections of the Gregory Park Community in Portmore, St. Catherine, which is being targeted as part of increased vector control and surveillance initiatives.
The Ministry is reporting that the community has a high population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is the vector for dengue.
During the tour on Friday (December 28), which started at the Gregory Park Primary School, Dr. Tufton, along with vector control workers, walked along gullies and pathways, and spoke to residents.
The Health Minister told the media that the tour was primarily focused on preventing new cases of the dengue fever.
“As you know, we have a more active year this year over last year, and we have diagnosed a number of cases in our hospitals. In St. Catherine, we have seen close to 18 per cent of the overall country, persons being affected here in the Parish and the Portmore and Spanish Town area we have seen higher cases, as oppose to the rest of the parish,” Minister Tufton said.
He noted that the tour in Gregory Park, was part of plans to highlight the concerns as manifested in the results or suspected cases, and to bring attention to the residents, the need for them to destroy mosquito breeding sites.
“For the most part, I think most citizens are doing a good job, supported by the vector control team, but we are still at risk, because the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are here,” he said.
Minister Tufton also urged the residents to seek medical assistance if they show symptoms of being infected with dengue fever.
“Where we are unable to prevent and symptoms are being displayed, whether in an adult or a child, which means fever, rashes [and] joint pains, we’re strongly advising Jamaicans to visit your physician, whether at your health centre, at the hospital or your private doctor, to get a quick diagnosis,” he stated.
“If it is suspected by the clinician that dengue is the cause of those symptoms, then there is a particular procedure to be used. Some medications can aggravate the situation and can make it worst,” he added.
Symptoms of dengue fever include sudden onset of high fever with severe headache, fatigue, pain behind the eyes, muscle, bone or joint pain, skin rash and vomiting or feeling nauseous.
To prevent against contracting dengue, persons are advised to eliminate mosquito breeding sites by discarding items that collect water (old drums, used tyres, plastic containers); installing mosquito netting over the bed; wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants outdoors; using DEET-containing mosquito repellent; and regularly changing water in animal and pet containers.