Jamaicans Urged to Take Precautions Against Dengue Fever


The Ministry of Health has said that an outbreak of dengue fever was likely to occur during this year’s Atlantic hurricane season and has urged that Jamaicans take extra precautions against the disease.
Medical Entomologist in the Ministry, Sherine Huntley, explained to JIS News that, “dengue fever is a viral disease transmitted to humans by the aedes aegypti mosquito”.
She said that dengue fever was prevalent during the hurricane season because “if we are having a lot of rain.it will provide a habitat for the mosquito to breed and transmit the disease”.
The Medical Entomologist noted that dengue fever normally occurred in two or three forms – classical dengue fever, and the more severe dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome.
She noted that persons suffering from classical dengue will experience “a flu-like illness.in most cases children especially, will have a measles-like rash, abrupt onset of high fever, severe frontal headache, pain behind the eyes, pain in the muscles and in the joints, loss of sense of taste and appetite, nausea and vomiting”.
Persons suffering from the more severe forms of dengue, she said, would also experience “bleeding from the nose, the mouth, from skin bruises, excessive thirst, difficulty in breathing and fainting”.
To prevent an outbreak of the disease, persons are being advised to protect themselves against the bite of the mosquito by “reducing the breeding of the mosquito around your immediate environment. It is important to get rid of all things that would be breeding ground for mosquito – drums, old tyres and unwanted containers, once it is able to collect water get rid of it”, she informed.
Miss Huntley advised further that, “if you do have containers that you use to store water, cover these containers properly so that they are inaccessible to the mosquitoes. If you are so inclined, you can throw a little cooking oil into the water. This creates a thin film on the surface of the water and prevents the mosquito from breeding”.
In addition, she recommended that persons place at least one poeciliata reticulata bammusiasassinas or ‘tiki-tiki’ fish in water containers, to get rid of the mosquito larvae. “We encourage persons to use one or two fishes in their container that are not used for cooking, but for other domestic purposes, and these have proven to be excellent in reducing the breeding of mosquitoes,” she pointed out.
In 2005, there were 44 confirmed cases of dengue fever, and since the start of the year, there have been 25 reported cases.
“Dengue is a serious disease that can cause death.all the necessary precautions must be taken to prevent an outbreak,” Miss Huntley stated.

JIS Social