Jamaica declares Dengue fever outbreak with hundreds of confirmed and suspected cases

Health officials say at least 6 deaths are being investigated in Jamaica, although none yet linked to dengue

Health officials in Jamaica have declared an outbreak of the dengue fever Saturday with at least 565 suspected, presumed and confirmed cases in the Caribbean nation. 

Jamaica’s Ministry of Health and Wellness says the outbreak comes as its National Surveillance Unit "advised that Jamaica has surpassed the dengue epidemic threshold for July and August and is on a trajectory to do the same for the month of September." 

"The dominant strain is Dengue Type 2, which last predominated in 2010," it said. "There are no dengue-related deaths classified at this time, however, six deaths are being investigated."

Health officials say there currently are at least 78 confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne disease in Jamaica. 


Aedes aegypti mosquito

An Aedes aegypti mosquito is photographed through a microscope at the Fiocruz institute in Recife, Brazil. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

"Meanwhile, approximately 500 temporary vector control workers have been engaged and deployed across the island to high-risk communities along with 213 permanent workers," the Ministry of Health and Wellness also said. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says dengue viruses are "spread to people through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito." 

About one in four people infected will get sick, with mild symptoms including nausea, vomiting, rash, aches and pains, according to the CDC.  

Recovery takes about a week. 


Worker fumigates

A Ministry of Health worker fumigates against the dengue virus in the San Juan de Lurigancho neighborhood of Lima, Peru, on Friday, May 19, 2023. (Sebastian Castaneda/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

placeholderAround 1 in 20 people infected will develop severe dengue, which the CDC says "can result in shock, internal bleeding, and even death." 

"The Ministry and Regional Health Authorities have made the necessary preparations for a possible outbreak," said Christopher Tufton, the Minister of Health in Jamaica. 

The Ministry is warning the public in Jamaica that the Aedes aegypti mosquito "breeds in any containerized environment" that can hold water, such as drums, tires, buckets and animal feeding containers. 

Mosquito on skin

An aedes aegypti or yellow fever mosquito is seen sucking blood on skin, (iStock )

"Persons are urged to play their part in ensuring that the cases are minimized by monitoring water storage containers for mosquito breeding, keeping surroundings free of debris, destroying or treating potential mosquito breeding sites, wearing protective clothing, using mosquito repellent and, as much as possible, staying indoors at dusk with windows and doors closed," it also said. 

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