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The Ministry of Health is heightening its Dengue Outbreak Control programme, to manage mosquito breeding sites that would have developed following last week's passage of Hurricane Sandy.

This was disclosed by Director of Emergency Disaster Management and Special Services in the Ministry, Dr. Marion Bullock Ducasse, at Wednesday's (October 31) Jamaica House press briefing.

“We are now out searching for the breeding sites. With the rainfall, we have additional collections of water and the potential for breeding sites so our teams are out and asking the communities to assist us," she said.

Dr. Bullock Ducasse informed that vector control activities, which had to be suspended due to the hurricane, resumed on October 26 in parishes that were less affected, mainly in the west and south of Jamaica, and activities for all other parishes restarted on October 29.

She reminded persons to ensure that when clearing hurricane debris, they remove all old tins and tyres, and punch holes in the bottoms of containers to prevent the collection of water.

“We are also asking persons to search in and around homes, schools, churches and business places to make sure that they are eliminating all of the breeding sites – that’s emptying the vases, making sure that wherever they see collections of water, that they get rid of them,” she advised.

The Director further informed that the Ministry's teams have resumed fogging and spraying in all parishes, noting that schedules will be announced shortly "because we do want persons to open up their homes doors and windows when the vehicles and the teams are coming around to do their fogging".

Meanwhile, Dr. Bullock Ducasse informed that up to October 20, a total of 2,198 suspected cases of dengue and seven suspected dengue-related deaths have been reported.

Dengue fever is a severe flu-like viral disease transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito.  It is endemic to Jamaica and, from time to time, there is a seasonal increase in the number of reported cases in the country.

Common symptoms of dengue include sudden onset of high fever with severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle pain, bone or joint pain, and vomiting or feeling nauseous.