Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton, says the Ministry will be embarking on an all-island tour to sensitize residents about the importance of implementing good vector control measures in the fight against dengue.
Following a tour of sections of Westmoreland and St. Elizabeth on September 13, Dr. Tufton said that the battle can only be won on a united front and that there is absolutely no room for complacency.
“Today was a good tour of the two parishes, where we also met and spoke with vector management and health workers,” the Minister said.
“We also got a brief as to the vector control measures that have, and are being implemented in both parishes. The objective is to sensitize the public, help with the planning process and to give critical support to the health staff in the parishes, because we believe this is the best response to this dengue challenge,” he added.
Dr. Tufton said that in St. Elizabeth alone, the Ministry has increased the number of vector workers from 41 to 100 in an effort to ensure maximum coverage and attention in susceptible areas.
“We have quite a number of workers now to be deployed in the field where we have also increased the logistic support for them. We have also made available materials for them to visit the different locations. We take the issue of dengue very seriously and we don’t want the people of St. Elizabeth to be badly affected,” the Minister said.
Noting that the hospitals in both parishes have been sensitised, the Minister said he is urging persons who are showing symptoms of the virus, to seek immediate medical advice.
NO SPECIAL TREATMENT
Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton said that factors beyond Jamaica’s control are responsible for the dengue alert, pointing to “adjustments in climate change; a hotter environment; greater breeding of the mosquito, which has increased its population; and more aggressive features of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes”.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease that has rapidly spread to all regions in recent years. The virus is transmitted mainly by the female Aedes aegypti mosquito. This mosquito also transmits Chikungunya, Yellow Fever and Zika viruses. Dengue is widespread throughout the tropics, with local variations in risk influenced by rainfall, temperature and unplanned rapid urbanization.
According to the WHO, there is no specific treatment for dengue/severe dengue, but early detection and access to proper medical care lowers fatality rates to below one per cent.
The international health body also notes that dengue prevention and control depend on effective vector control measures.