Decline in dengue fever in St Ann

Thursday, April 25, 2019

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ST ANN, Jamaica — The St Ann Health Department says there has been a drastic decline in the number of reported cases of dengue fever in the parish.

In an interview with JIS News, Acting Medical Officer of Health for the department, Dr Tamika Henry, said that since mid-March, the parish has recorded no more than three suspected cases of the mosquito-borne disease per week, down from over 20.

“Since January in St Ann, we got over 500 suspected cases of dengue, with 80 per cent matching the case definition. We looked, as well, at the fact that in terms of our epi-surveillance, the group that was commonly affected was our five to 14 age group, and so we did a lot of intervention in the schools. When we started out, we were seeing over 20 cases per week. The last two weeks of March, we saw about three cases per week of suspected cases,” she said.

Dr Henry said the health department employed a six-pronged approach in its fight against the spread of dengue, which helped to control the infection levels in the parish.

She said that following the announced outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease in January, the health department increased its fogging and larvaecidal activities to ensure the best possible results, as well as instituted an aggressive public education campaign and surveillance initiatives.

“We had to beef up our human resource. As you are aware, the health ministry would have mandated all the parishes to increase their vector control workers. We had 60 workers in St Ann and they assisted us quite well. We also looked at our laboratory capacity to ensure that we were able to do the necessary investigations and whatever tests we needed to do. We also ensured that we had our human resource and equipment and the chemicals to do that,” she explained.

Dr Henry said that the vector control programme, which commenced in January, resulted in a significant reduction in the Aedes indices for the parish.

She affirmed that the St Ann Health Department will not let up in its fight against the spread of mosquito-borne diseases in the parish.

“We have persons who are still assigned to different communities, and will continue with household checks, giving educational resources. We will keep up the fight,” Dr Henry said.


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