434 confirmed dengue cases; seven related deaths

THE Ministry of Health and Wellness has reported that as of Tuesday, October 17, 2023, there were 434 confirmed Dengue cases in the country from approximately 2,107 suspected, presumed, and confirmed cases. At the same time, there were seven dengue-related deaths – five classified as suspected and two as confirmed.

“All parishes continue to observe an increase in dengue cases this year when compared to 2022. Kingston and St Andrew reported the highest number of cases (600) for 2023. However, St Thomas maintains the highest rate of 310.4 cases per 100,000 population, followed by Portland and St Mary,” a ministry release said last night.

Jamaicans in the five to 14-year-old cohort continue to be the most affected by the virus, with a rate of 240.4 cases per 100,000 population, the release said.

The ministry, meanwhile, has again reminded the public that dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease that is usually a mild illness in which a person may get a fever, headache, joint, and muscle pains. It said rest and adequate hydration are usually enough to see one through the period of illness.

The recommended treatment for the fever is acetaminophen/paracetamol.

Jamaicans were, meanwhile, warned not to use aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, or any of the medications/pain relievers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs, when used to treat the fever in Dengue, have been known to increase the severity of the disease, said the ministry.

Said the release: “On occasions the illness can progress to severe dengue, which can result in organ failure as well as bleeding (haemorrhage) and severe fluid depletion that can lead to shock and death. Persons experiencing fever, vomiting, severe abdominal pain, bleeding under the skin (petechial rash), feeling very weak, or getting confused, are to seek immediate medical attention.

“Persons are asked to play their part in ensuring that dengue cases are minimised by monitoring water storage containers for mosquito breeding; keeping surroundings free of debris; destroying or treating potential mosquito breeding sites; wearing protective clothing; and using a DEET-containing mosquito repellant.”