Jamaica has recently declared a dengue fever outbreak, according to the Ministry of Health and Wellness. The announcement was made on Saturday as the country witnessed a surge in cases.
The National Surveillance Unit of the Ministry of Health and Wellness reports that Jamaica has surpassed the dengue epidemic threshold for the months of July and August and is projected to do the same for September. This indicates a significant increase in the number of dengue cases compared to the usual occurrence during this time of year.
As of Friday, September 22, the country has recorded a total of 565 suspected, presumed, and confirmed cases of dengue. Of these cases, 78 have been confirmed, with the majority concentrated in the parishes of Kingston and St Andrew, St Catherine, and St Thomas.
The dominant strain responsible for the outbreak is identified as Dengue Type Two, one of the most deadly strains. It has not been prevalent in Jamaica since 2010. Apart from fever, this strain can cause two or more additional symptoms of typical dengue infection, making it potentially fatal.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness clarified that there have been no dengue-related deaths officially classified at this time. However, they are currently investigating six deaths that may be linked to the outbreak. Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease, transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, that has been endemic to Jamaica.
Common symptoms of dengue fever include headaches, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, nausea, and a rash. In some cases, a more severe form of the disease known as dengue haemorrhagic fever can develop, causing internal bleeding, liver enlargement, and high fever.
It is worth mentioning that Jamaica previously experienced a dengue outbreak in 2019. As a precautionary measure, individuals are encouraged to take necessary steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites.