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A further 300 smears will be dispatched to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) today. This was disclosed by Dr. Sheila Campbell-Forrester, Chief Medical Officer for the island.
According to her, the large number of samples that were taken represent attempts to reduce the public health risk to the nation. She said that the Ministry had started treating persons from whom the smears were taken as a precautionary measure.
“We are not waiting for the results of testing to start treating persons who are exhibiting symptoms of the disease. It is better to treat in a situation where there is an outbreak in order to reduce the public health risk,” Dr. Campbell-Forester said.
In explaining the number of samples she said the present figure also include other conditions which have similar symptoms as it is not unusual at this time of the year for persons to have flu like symptoms such as fever and chills.
On Wednesday, December 13, 374 smears were sent to the CDC. Of the 123 results that have been received so far 6 were confirmed cases of malaria.
“This is in keeping with the 5% positive trend that we have been seeing since the outbreak”, the Acting Chief Medical Officer explained.
She also said that the 6 new cases had links to the identified communities, which suggests that the outbreak is still confined to the initial areas of Denham Town, Tivoli Gardens, Trench Town and Delacree Park.
Persons residing in or visiting these communities are again reminded to take the necessary precaution to protect themselves from infections. These precautionary measures are:
-Wearing appropriate light coloured clothing that covers the body such as long sleeves, pants and socks
– Avoid wearing dark clothes at nights as this attracts mosquitoes
– Use insect repellant containing the chemical DEET
– Sleep under a mosquito net
To date a total of 77 malaria cases have been confirmed.