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Tufton urges precaution against dengue

Thursday, December 06, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton, is urging precaution against the dengue fever virus, including destroying mosquito breeding sites in and around the home.

He said that while there has been an “unusually high” number of reported cases of dengue in the island, this is not remarkable for this time of the year, reiterating that there is no outbreak of the virus.

“Right now, there is a concern that we have an outbreak of dengue by those persons who do not have the data and who are understandably concerned, particularly if they know someone or have a relative or friend who is affected by signs or symptoms of dengue. We cannot classify the situation as an outbreak. We can say, however, that there are cases and we need to be vigilant,” he said.

Tufton was addressing the Pesticides Control Authority's (PCA) annual awards ceremony at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St Andrew on Tuesday.

Dengue fever is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, and symptoms include sudden onset of high fever with severe headache, fatigue, pain behind the eyes, muscle, bone or joint pain, skin rash and vomiting or feeling nauseous.

Rest and adequate hydration are recommended to combat the symptoms and acetaminophen/paracetamol for the treatment of fever. The Ministry is warning the public not to use aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, or any of the medications/pain relievers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as these have been known to increase the severity of the disease.

Additionally, some persons may develop a rare complication of dengue fever referred to as dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF), which may result in bleeding, including internal bleeding.

The ministry recommends that immediate medical attention should be sought once a person with a fever begins to vomit, have severe abdominal pain, bleeding under the skin (petechial rash), feels very weak, or gets confused.

To prevent against contracting dengue, persons are advised to eliminate mosquito breeding sites by discarding items that collect water (old drums, used tyres, plastic containers); installing mosquito netting over the bed; wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants outdoors; using DEET-containing mosquito repellent; and regularly changing water in animal and pet containers.

The PCA awards ceremony recognised staff members and partners of the PCA for their service to the agriculture sector and ensuring healthy food.

More than 11 PCA stakeholders were recognised across the following categories: Most Innovative Low Toxicity Pesticide Registered in 2018; Most Compliant Farm Stores; Highest Marks in Pest Control Examination 2018.

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