Medical Officer of Health for Trelawny, Dr. Diahann Dale, says the parish’s public health team is working feverishly to keep dengue fever at bay, while at the same time effectively managing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Speaking at a recent Parish Management and Vector Control meeting at the Falmouth Hospital, Dr. Dale noted that efforts to destroy breeding sites for the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the dengue virus, have been consistent since the start of the year.
“We acknowledge that having this consistency has made a lot of difference in what we have been able to achieve even while we have been working hard as a public health team in addressing the COVID-19 threat,” she noted.
She informed that the provision of critical resources, including vehicles and the boosting of human resource capacity, has contributed significantly to the success of the vector-management programme.
“We currently have six vehicles, which are dedicated to vector-control work in the parish. Two of those vehicles are mounted with ultra low volume (ULV) fogging machines and this has enhanced the efficiency of the adulticidal interventions in terms of fogging, especially in the large communities. We have consistently had, for the most part, an average of about 60 temporary vector-control workers, in addition to our 12 full-time staff,” Dr. Dale shared.
She informed that up to the end of October, the parish recorded 100 suspected cases of dengue fever compared to more than 900 for the same period last year, when the island experienced an outbreak of the virus.
The parish recorded an Aedes index of 13.4 per cent for October, an increase over previous months, as a result of increased rainfall over the last several weeks.
Dr. Dale said that the Trelawny Health Department will be strengthening its public education and enforcement activities in some communities, as the practice of improper storage of water by some residents continues to be a challenge.
“We acknowledge that we need to strengthen the enforcement activities because education and enforcement must go hand in hand if we are to maintain the gains that we have made and not go back to the outbreak situation,” she noted.
Dr. Dale is encouraging householders to work together to destroy mosquito breeding sites in and around their homes.