Health Minister: Over 10,000 dengue cases in Jamaica over last two years

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton (Photo: Christopher Lewinson/BUZZ)

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton has disclosed that between January 1, 2018, and January 31 this year, medical professionals have dealt with 10,331 suspected, presumed or confirmed cases of dengue fever in Jamaica.

Dr Tufton, speaking at a press briefing at the ministry’s New Kingston headquarters on Wednesday (Feb. 5), noted further that of that number, 1,069 cases were recorded with the date of onset in 2018; another 9,159 cases established in 2019, and 103 so far for 2020.

He cautioned that while there is growing concern for the novel coronavirus as it spreads globally, Jamaica mustn’t lose sight of the dengue threat.

“It is vital that we sustain the efforts to rid ourselves of mosquito breeding sites and in doing so, reduce our vulnerability to dengue,” Tufton told journalists.

To this end, Minister Tufton said that his ministry has bolstered the national vector control programme with the acquisition of 60 new motor vehicles – 37 of which have been equipped with mounted foggers.

“We have actually renewed the entire fleet of the vector [control] programme. These vehicles will be serving every parish and the mounted foggers, which are significantly more effective than the handheld ones, cover a lot more communities [and] a lot safer to work with,” he said.

“As it relates to addressing the mature mosquito threat, the country is well-equipped, and hope to see the results of that over time. It is not the only strategy, but it is an important part in the programme,” the minister added.

Breaking down the statistics, Tufton indicated that of the total number of dengue cases, only 2,325 or 22.5 per cent of patients were hospitalised for suspected or confirmed dengue. Over the same period, the island also recorded 85 dengue-related deaths, which accounted for 3.7 per cent of those who were hospitalisation.

An encouraging 96.3 per cent of persons were discharged.