The St. James Health Department is intensifying its vector-control activities to address an increase in the parish’s Aedes index to 25.6 per cent in October up from 13.2 per cent in September.
Speaking at the monthly meeting of the St. James Municipal Corporation held at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre on November 12, Deputy Chief Public Health Inspector for St. James, Nadia Burgess, attributed the spike to increased rainfall.
“This was expected due to the hurricane season with regular rainfall. In addition to this, the task worker programme ended in the first week of October, hence we had less persons in the field conducting larvacidal activities,” she pointed out.
Ms. Burgess explained that the 94 task workers have been re-engaged to help reduce the prevalence of Aedes aegypti mosquito breeding sites in targeted communities.
“What we are doing at this time is refocus our core team in the communities with high indices to conduct larvicidal and adulticidal activities. The task workers were re-engaged as of October 27, so these persons have now been dispatched to the various communities to resume larvicidal activities,” she said.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for the spread of the dengue fever, Zika and chikungunya viruses.
Symptoms of dengue 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.
Ms. Burgess told the Municipal Corporation meeting that the Health Department also continues rodent control operations in Montego Bay.