Jamaica declares dengue outbreak

The Ministry of Health and Wellness has declared a dengue fever outbreak in Jamaica.

In a release Saturday, the ministry said its National Surveillance Unit advised that the island has surpassed the dengue epidemic threshold for July and August and is on a trajectory to do the same for September.

“This means, the country has seen an increase in the number of cases compared to what is normally seen during these months of the year,” the ministry stated.

As of Friday, September 23, the country had recorded 565 suspected, presumed and confirmed cases of dengue, the ministry said. Of that number, 78 cases had been confirmed, with the majority of the cases in Kingston and St Andrew, St Catherine and St Thomas, according to the release.

The ministry said the dominant strain has been Dengue Type Two, which is one of the deadliest and has not been predominant in Jamaica since 2010. The strain, in addition to fever, can cause two or more other symptoms of typical dengue infection and can be fatal.

However, there are no dengue-related deaths classified at this time, but six deaths are being investigated, the ministry said.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease. The Aedes agypti mosquito, which transmits the disease, is endemic to Jamaica.

Dengue symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, nausea, and rash. In a small number of cases, the potentially deadly dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) may develop, resulting in internal bleeding, enlargement of the liver, and high fever.

Jamaica last had a dengue outbreak in 2019.

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