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No confirmed cases of dengue-related

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Ministry of Health yesterday said that, to date, it has no confirmed reports of dengue-related deaths on the island. However, it urged the public to take personal precaution against mosquito bites.

The ministry made the disclosure in a news release in an obvious response to yesterday's Jamaica Observer lead story which reported the concerns of a Hanover resident that two deaths in that parish were caused by dengue fever.

The Hanover woman, Keisha Rhodes, said she is a family friend of both individuals who died between December 2017 and April 2018.

“The first happened in November/December with a young girl who was seven — she complained about headache, she was not eating, and kept saying her tummy hurt,” Rhodes told the Sunday Observer. “We brought her to the doctor and they thought it was a flu. Her symptoms continued and when her parents brought her back they did a procedure on her where they entered a tube to see what was going on, and while doing the procedure she died. They did the autopsy and it said the cause of death was dengue fever.”

Rhodes said that the second victim began complaining about headaches and developed a fever. After a series of visits to the hospital and private doctors she eventually died and again, according to Rhodes, the autopsy revealed dengue fever as the cause of death.

Yesterday, the Health Ministry reminded Jamaicans that the symptoms for the mosquito-borne tropical disease typically begin three to 14 days after infection.

“This may include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a skin rash. Symptoms usually last two to seven days. There is no specific treatment for dengue, but access to proper medical care reduces mortality rates,” the ministry said.

“The virus is transmitted by the bite of the infected female Aedes mosquito. The Aedes is the same vector that transmits the chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika viruses,” the ministry added.

It said the best way to prevent dengue is to avoid mosquito bites and reiterated the importance of personal protection against mosquito bites, including the destruction of breeding sites in or around the home.

“Those sites include old tyres, laundry tanks, covered tanks/cisterns, drum/barrels, discarded buckets and containers, pet dishes, construction blocks, bottles, discarded tin cans, tree holes and bamboo, bottle pieces on top of walls, old shoes, flower pots, discarded toys, roof guttering, bromeliad plants, garden containers and tools, brick holes, and unmaintained wading/swimming pools,” the ministry advised. It also said it continues to heighten its mosquito-control activities islandwide.