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Concern over possible dengue fever outbreak in Jamaica


Concern over possible dengue fever outbreak in Jamaica
The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is the carrier of dengue fever. (GP)

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Kingston – Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton is calling on Jamaicans to monitor and destroy mosquito breeding sites in and around their homes, as the dengue fever remains a threat.

“The mosquito still represents a threat to the population because it is the carrier of the dengue virus,” he said, while on a tour of the National Entomology Laboratory.

Tufton said with the return of the rainy season and given the amount of rain that fell over last weekend, it is expected that there will be an increase in the number of aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

He reminded that an outbreak of the virus, which occurred two years ago, killed many Jamaicans and affected thousands of persons.

“I urge the population to be cautious as we go into the next number of months, and to look at the mosquito breeding sites around your homes. Destroy those sites, and be careful as you monitor your environment for the aedes mosquito, and the potential threat of dengue.”

Tufton said that if the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and dengue have to be confronted at the same time, it would put “significant” stress on the population.

He said over the coming weeks, several trucks will be deployed across the island to carry out fogging, adding that other possible measures will be put in place to eliminate mosquito breeding sites.

“We are prepared, but we want to prevent,” Tufton said, adding that the Mosquito Insectary, which has been set up at the University of the West Indies (UWI)  and at the Entomology Laboratory, under a pilot programme, will help to reduce the breeding of the insects.

“This insectary here, we believe, once we have the final equipment to sterilise the mosquitoes, it will go a far way in helping to control the mosquito population,” Tufton said, adding that the insectary is breeding those mosquitoes and they will be released into the atmosphere where they will mate and “hopefully produce infertile eggs, and literally eliminate a generation.

“This is one way to control the mosquito population,” Tufton said. (CMC)