The Ministry of Health has confirmed that there is a dengue fever outbreak in Jamaica.

At an emergency press conference at its New Kingston offices on Thursday, the ministry said there were 123 cases of dengue fever across the island in December, surpassing the epidemic threshold of 96.

The 123 cases include suspected, presumed and confirmed cases of dengue fever, said Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton.

The Health Ministry is reminding that dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease during which the person who becomes ill may get a fever, headache, joint, and muscle pains. To combat symptoms, rest and adequate hydration are usually enough to see one through the period of illness.

Dengue Fever is caused by the Flavivirus, and occurs in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. During an outbreak – when there are more than 96 reported local cases – it is important to be informed about the disease’s transmission, symptoms, and methods of prevention.

Transmission
The disease is carried by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and transmitted to humans through the bites of infected female mosquitoes.

Symptoms
Dengue fever occurs in one of two forms. The mild form produces:
• A fever of 40˚ C or higher
• Headache
• Muscle, bone, and joint pain
• Nausea
• Pain behind the eyes
• Rash
• Swollen glands
• Vomiting

Its more severe form, called Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever, can also cause can cause haemorrhaging, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and death.

Prevention
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has provided information to help Jamaicans combat the disease and limit the spread of Dengue Fever. Some tips are:
• Use a mosquito repellent containing DEET on skin and clothing
• Sleep under a mosquito net
• Get treatment promptly when symptoms appear to prevent progression of the disease
• Keep stored water covered
• Eliminate mosquito breeding sites (mainly still water and tall grass) around dwellings
• Close windows before nightfall
• Open windows during fogging

For more information, please contact the:
Ministry of Health
10-16 Grenada Way
Kingston 5
Tel: 876-633-8172; 876-633-7771; 876-633-8172
Website: www.moh.gov.jm
Email: pr@moh.gov.jm

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