Dr. FrancinePhillips Kelly

Barrington Flemming
Staff Reporter

With the official start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season mere weeks away, Dr. Francine Phillips Kelly, Medical Officer of Health for the parish of St. James, is warning residents not to be blinded by data swirling about COVID-19, while ignoring what could be a threat or a possible surge of Dengue Fever if people become lax in their prevention methods.

She says with the health sector already challenged by COVID-19, all efforts must be made to prevent another outbreak of dengue fever, which could thrust the sector into a crisis.

She says the citizenry must be cognizant that the vector which transmits dengue fever, the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, lives in Jamaica and efforts must be sustained to destroy mosquito breeding sites as without the mosquito there is no threat of the transmission of the disease.

“While the hurricane season is fast approaching, we still have to be vigilant during the drought period, as a lot of people are storing water and despite the efforts to educate them some are still not taking preventative measure to properly store water, which allows for the breeding of mosquitos”, Dr. Kelly explained.

She is therefore reminding citizens to properly secure storage containers, check around their homes and immediate environs for possible mosquito breeding sites and destroy them, wear long sleeve clothing to cover the body and make all effort to prevent being bitten by mosquitos.

She says while the numbers may be reduced, it is not totally gone and people must remain steadfast.

Dr. Phillips Kelly says with dengue fever and COVID -19 presenting with some similar symptoms it is imperative that people take the necessary precautions to prevent transmission and if they feel sick to immediately seek medical attention.

Symptoms of Dengue Fever

Symptoms, which usually begin four to six days after infection and last for up to 10 days, may include:
•Sudden, high fever
•Severe headaches
•Pain behind the eyes
•Severe joint and muscle pain
•Skin rash, which appears two to five days after the onset of fever
•Mild bleeding (such a nose bleed, bleeding gums, or easy bruising)