Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, is urging Jamaicans not to lose sight of the threat of dengue fever, even as the country is battling the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“I don’t want a de-emphasis on vector management and control, even while we confront the COVID-19 pandemic, which we are currently placing dominance on,” he noted.
Addressing public health officials at a Parish Management and Vector Control meeting held at the Falmouth Hospital in Trelawny recently, Minister Tufton said that the threat level for dengue fever has been amplified due to the heavy rainfall that has been affecting the island in recent weeks.
He is, therefore, calling on public health workers and members of the public to redouble their efforts in the fight against the vector-borne disease in order to safeguard the country against any future outbreaks.
“While we are confronted by the challenges of COVID-19, we do not want to lose sight of the public health threat that the Aedes aegypti mosquito and, by extension, dengue represent. We certainly do not want a recurrence of last year as in relates to any outbreak,” he said.
Minister Tufton said that the Government is committed to controlling the breeding of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the dengue virus, but also pointed out that citizens have a critical role to play in searching for and destroying mosquito breeding site on their premises.
“I want to signal to the country… that we are taking the vector management programme seriously and that we are going to go out there and do what is necessary. I also want to signal to the country that it is absolutely essential that we all play our part, as would be the case with any other public health threat, as citizens to restrict the breeding sites by destroying those in and around our homes,” he noted.
Dr. Tufton informed that up to September 30, 2020, approximately two million premises were inspected by vector-control workers across the island, with breeding sites discovered at 187,000 properties.