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SERHA Clarifies St. Catherine Dengue Report

Kingston, Jamaica. Friday, September 15, 2023:The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) wishes to clarify the Dengue Report given by an officer at the St. Catherine Municipal Corporation Meeting held recently.  It is to be noted that the 138 cases of dengue fever announced are cases that have been reported to the St. Catherine Health Department. The cases will be forwarded to the Ministry of Health &; Wellness and after investigation will be classified as suspected, presumed or confirmed cases.

SERHA recognizes that some cases after investigation will not meet the case definitions and will not be diagnosed as Dengue. Similarly, the three dengue-related deaths reported will

undergo further investigation before they can be classified as suspected, presumed or confirmed cases of Dengue.

It is standard procedure for the case history of these notifications to be sent to the Ministry for classification, confirmation and thereafter communication to the respective parish/region and to the public. However, updates are provided to the Parish Councils sometimes before there is confirmation. In these situations, it must be made clear that these are reports that have not yet been confirmed.

Dengue is a common mosquito-borne disease with an estimated 50 to 100 million cases occurring globally each year. Jamaica has seen continuous local transmission of the virus since 1977, with outbreaks occurring every two to four years over the last decade. The symptoms and signs of Dengue are highly variable and resemble many other viral illnesses including Influenza and COVID-19.

Symptoms include high fever, general discomfort, muscle and joint ache, retroorbital pain, headache, may also presents with nausea and vomiting. Jamaicans are again reminded to remain vigilant in the wake of an increase in Dengue activities. 

The annual peak transmission season for Dengue is during the country’s rainy season, that is, August to December. The Dengue virus has four strains and is contracted through the bite of an infected female Aedes aegypti mosquito. Breeding sites include areas with standing water, such as puddles, water tanks, containers, and old tires. Irregular garbage collection and poor sanitation also contribute to the spread of the insect.

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