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524 suspected dengue cases in Manchester

BY KASEY WILLIAMS
Sunday Observer writer
editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, November 17, 2019

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — With the deadly dengue outbreak plaguing Jamaica, 524 suspected cases were reported here within the last month.

The announcement was made last Thursday by the parish's Chief Public Health Inspector Charmaine Palmer-Cross at the monthly sitting on the Manchester Municipal Corporation.

“In relation to the [dengue] cases the numbers fluctuate each week…. We [record] them by epi-week. For epiweek 41 we had 139; epi-week 42 there were 88; epi-week 43 we had 162; and epi-week 44 (last week) we had 135 [reported cases],” said Palmer-Cross.

She is urging residents to rid their environment of mosquito -breeding sites.

“Householders really need to take responsibility, because what we find is that once we have a death we go in and we investigate. The entire team will go in and imagine on one premises we will find 40 breeding sites, that is really unacceptable and is a concern,” she said.

She added, “[Although] we have the workers out there, we just cannot be everywhere. One of the things we recognise, especially working in the southern area in the past month is that persons are not relating the actual water that is settled or in a container or wrigglers in that container to the adult mosquito and then relate it to dengue. We are seeing that there is a disconnect where that is concerned.”

She emphasised that there is a need for persons to understand that small containers can be mosquito-breeding sites.

“The message really is for persons to understand that the little milk container that is thrown around the yard, the old tires there, that is what or can result in a dengue case or death, but they [residents] are not making the connection. We are trying to bridge this in terms of [educating them],” she said.

“Persons are saying that we have always had mosquitoes but we really never seen this many dengue, but if the infected person is not in the area to pass on the germs to the mosquito then it means that the mosquito as I term them will remain a 'virgin'. Unless that mosquito bites someone who is infected then it won't pick up the germ, so that is the message that we have to be sending out there to let persons understand,” she went on.

Over 6,000 suspected cases of dengue have been reported since the start of the year islandwide with over 40 deaths. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says dengue in the Americas has reached the highest number of cases ever recorded, with more than 2.7 million cases and 1,206 deaths so far this year.

The Government last Tuesday announced a $1.3 billion mitigation programme to combat the dengue outbreak.


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