KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Ministry of Health is urging people to assist in destroying mosquito-breeding sites around their homes.
The Ministry says it has heightened its surveillance of dengue fever and has been carrying out increased mosquito control activities including community based education and promotion, fogging and source reduction — treatment and destruction of breeding sites.
In a release to the media Director of Health Promotion and Protection, Dr Kevin Harvey says the intensified activities will continue but the support of householders is needed to comprehensively deal with the breeding of dengue fever causing mosquitoes.
Although numerous activities are being carried out by the Ministry, we cannot make any meaningful dent in controlling the breeding of the aedes aegypti mosquito that causes dengue if persons do not assist," he said.
"We ask that householders in particular seek out and destroy mosquito breeding-sites. Vases, old tyres, discarded cans, flower pots, barrels, drums and anything else that can store water can harbor mosquitoes,"Dr Harvey added.
The country has recorded an increase in the number of cases of dengue fever since the start of the year, with the Ministry reporting 974 suspected cases as at September 22, 2012 compared to 887 for all of 2011 and 3,202 in 2010 when there was an outbreak.
Kingston and St Andrew has recorded the most cases so far with 480, followed by Manchester with 101, Clarendon with 78, St Ann with 63 and St Catherine with 50.
The least affected parish is St Thomas, which has reported 4 cases.
There has also been one confirmed dengue-related death so far this year.
Dengue fever is spread when an Aedes Aegypti mosquito bites an infected person and then bites others. Symptoms of dengue fever include pain behind the eyes, joint and muscle pain, weakness, fever and possibly a rash. If you have any of these symptoms and notice any signs of bleeding or severe abdominal pain, worsening weakness, difficulty in breathing or fainting and pale, cold or clammy skin, seek emergency care at the nearest hospital.
Persons with symptoms of dengue fever should take neither aspirin nor any other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, the Ministry cautions.