The Government of Jamaica says additional temporary workers are being sent to the Westmoreland, the westernmost parish on the island as the authorities seek to eliminate mosquito breeding sites as they deal with an outbreak of dengue fever.
Health authorities have confirmed two dengue-related deaths for the period January to December last year and said that the virus had surpassed the epidemic threshold for December.
“We are going to add some additional workers through the Housing, Opportunity, Production, and Employment (HOPE) Programme and the Ministry of Health Vector Support Programme.
They currently have 33 temporary and nine permanent staff, and we will add another 20 or 25 to give them better and fuller coverage of the parish,” said Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton.
Tufton said the area has had over 100 suspected cases of dengue fever in the last year, as well as four confirmed cases.
“We have identified the areas that are particularly vulnerable. One of the problems in these areas is that people use water containers which are oftentimes not covered and they become a fertile breeding ground for the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. We continue to urge citizens to look in and around the homes to ensure that there are no breeding sites,” Tufton said.
The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is responsible for the spread of the dengue, Zika and Chikungunya viruses.
Symptoms of dengue include sudden onset of high fever with a severe headache, fatigue, pain behind the eyes, muscle, bone or joint pain, skin rash, and vomiting or feeling nauseous.