Sun | Nov 17, 2019

Dengue concerns still stinging in Hanover

Published:Tuesday | October 15, 2019 | 12:05 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer
The female Aedes aegypti mosquito is the vector for dengue fever.
The female Aedes aegypti mosquito is the vector for dengue fever.

Western Bureau:

Tensions are rising in Hanover over the increasing number of persons being affected by dengue-like symptoms, although the parish’s health department is contending that there is no cause for alarm.

Dr Kaushal Singh, the medical officer of health for Hanover, told The Gleaner that for the month of September, 88 suspected cases of dengue were brought to the attention of the health department. So far, one positive case has been identified.

“Hanover has the least number of suspected, presumed or confirmed number of dengue cases across the island, so we do not need to worry too much, but the Hanover Health Department is still giving the situation our greatest attention,” said Singh.

But with over 335 reported cases of persons with dengue-like symptoms across the parish since the start of the year, and no reported figure of how many test results have been returned since then, the medical officer was taken to task at a recent Hanover Municipal Corporation meeting by Deputy Mayor Andria Dehaney-Dinham.

“In terms of dengue, I think we need some clarity about the facts and what is happening,” said Dehaney-Dinham. “Because we hearing all the time that we do not have any confirmed cases, but when I am out there on the streets and hearing of persons dying from dengue, and hearing something different from the reports that we are actually getting, I believe that we are not being very truthful to our people. I think that dengue is here and we are losing some of our people, as we are not just getting the right information.”

Singh tried to justify his report by stating that people ought to remember that dengue is endemic to Jamaica and will be here for some time. He further pointed out that a number of ailments have the same symptoms as illnesses spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, and as such, dengue cases could only be confirmed by lab tests.

“Despite the efforts of the Hanover Health Department in its vector-control programmes, there can only be proper control of the vector if the public plays its part in assisting in the eradication of breeding sites of the mosquito in and around the homes and communities,” said Singh.

He also pointed out that for the month of September, health personnel visited and inspected 17,401 premises across the parish, 10 per cent of which were found to be positive for mosquito-breeding sites.

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