Nine suspected denguerelated deaths in Manchester

BY KASEY WILLIAMS
Sunday Observer writer
editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, October 13, 2019

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — The Manchester Health Department has reported nine suspected dengue-related deaths in the parish since the start of the year. The announcement was made on Thursday by Medical Officer of Health Dr Nadine Williams at the monthly sitting of the Manchester Municipal Corporation. She said that in all cases, suspected dengue deaths were complicated by other ailments.

“The suspected [number of] deaths for Manchester so far [this year] is [at] nine. All of the suspected [dengue] deaths include [other] causing factors or things that have contributed to [people dying],” Williams said during a question and answer session following her formal presentation.

“What we do know is that persons have other conditions from before [such as] diabetes, sickle cell disease. The elderly [and] the very young, they might be the ones who succumb more to the severe dengue than [others],” said Williams.

“We have been having an outbreak since the start of 2019. We did see a reduction in the number of dengue cases at the end of March but in July we normally see an upsurge in cases as is typical in Jamaica,” she said.

An enhanced vector control programme was started in July and over 80 additional persons were employed as vector control officers, she said.

“We now have over 1,000 suspected cases of dengue in the parish since the start of the year. We know that there are persons who have not sought medical attention and others that have not been reported,” said Dr Williams.

She said the health department currently has 87 temporary vector workers focusing on high-risk areas to include major towns, tyre shops, garages and schools. Williams said the dengue outbreak is widespread across Manchester.

“Right now the number of cases are diffusely spread across the parish, from north to south. There is almost no area that is spared,” she said. She disclosed that fogging activities have in recent weeks suffered a setback due to persistent rainfall.

“Whenever it rains during the day the workers are not able to carry out their usual duties and if there is rain in the evening then we are unable to fog because we do not fog in the rain. Also, with the increased rain there is more settling of water in and around homes and contributes to mosquito breeding,” she said.

Williams is imploring residents to be vigilant in destroying mosquito breeding sites.

“When we are on the ground, even premises that we have been to before and when we return a month later, we are finding mosquito breeding in containers,” she said.


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