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Medical Officer of Health for Westmoreland, Dr. Marcia Graham, is calling on residents in the parish not to get complacent in protecting themselves against dengue fever.

The dengue outbreak was declared over recently by Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton.

Addressing the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation meeting on July 9 in Savanna-la-Mar, Dr. Graham said although the outbreak has been declared over, “we have to maintain vigilance”.

“Each citizen has a responsibility [to prevent mosquito breeding]. The outbreak is over because the number [of dengue cases] are lower.

Up to two weeks ago we had, year to date, 141 suspected cases of dengue fever in Westmoreland. This is indeed a significant decrease from 369 a year ago this time,” she noted.

“We have seen in the last three months, in a given week, between zero and five persons with suspected dengue fever. The numbers are lower, but dengue has not gone away, and so we ask that you (citizens) remain vigilant and try not to allow mosquitoes to breed where you live, work or worship,” Dr. Graham 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.

Citizens are encouraged to play their part to control mosquito-borne diseases by keeping surroundings free of debris, destroying or treating potential mosquito-breeding sites, wearing protective clothing, using a mosquito repellant containing DEET and, as much as possible, staying indoors at dusk with windows and doors closed.

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