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Dengue fever outbreak confirmed

Friday, October 12, 2012 | 8:29 AM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica - Health Minister, Dr Fenton Ferguson providing an update on the dengue fever cases affecting the island said that up to September 29, there was 1, 215 suspected with 45 confirmed.

Of that number there have been five suspected deaths caused by dengue, with one confirmed.

According to the Ministry of Health, the victim was a 15-year-old boy from the Corporate Area who also suffered from sickle cell disease.

Meanwhile, acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael Coombs urged the public not to panic.

“We have seen an increase and strictly speaking it could be described as an outbreak,” Dr Coombs said “However, I would like to make it very clear that compared to the outbreak in 2010 where the numbers were significantly higher, so in that context we would like to think we’re pretty convinced that out efforts are bearing fruit in terms of restricting the numbers thus far. So yes strictly speaking we are having an outbreak based on the number of suspected cases of dengue.”

In 2010 which was considered an outbreak year, there were 3002 suspected cases of dengue fever.

Ferguson also announced that mosquito eradication will continue across the island in an effort to eliminate breeding grounds.

Officials have dispatched fumigation trucks to spray roughly 450 neighbourhoods and teams are clearing storm drains that are clogged with debris. Thousands of premises have been inspected, Fenton said.

‘‘We have been taking the necessary steps to reduce the mosquito population and limit the impact of the epidemic across the island,’’ he added.

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