St James doctor warns residents against becoming complacent in dengue fight


St James doctor warns residents against becoming complacent in dengue fight

Observer West writer

Thursday, October 17, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Medical officer for St James, Dr Francine Phillips Kelly, has called on residents not to let up their guard in fight against dengue, as the parish continues to grapple with an increase in the number of suspected cases of dengue-related illness.

Dr Phillips Kelly, who did not state the level of the increase, made the call during her address at the recent regular monthly meeting of the St James Municipal Corporation.

“We do have a lot of suspected dengue fever cases. We do have a lot, and your concerns are noted. We are more concerned even than you are,” stated Dr Phillips Kelly.

“With all of our efforts, it does seem as if it is not making the kind of dent that we need to make and that is why we have had an increase of the workers who are going to be doing the work. We are getting an increase in supplies. We are just getting increase all round, and we need to continue with the effort from all levels. The coordination with public health service coordinated with the municipal corporation as well as the NSWMA [National Solid Waste Management Authority]. It is going to take a coordinated effort from us with our citizens,” she argued.

In pointing to the need for all hands to be on deck, the medical officer noted that the Aedes aegypti, which spreads dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika fever and yellow fever viruses are endemic to Jamaica.

“It doesn't matter if we get rid of every single mosquito today. If each individual does not maintain their surroundings, then we will have mosquitos tomorrow, because the Aedes aegypti, which is the agent that carries dengue fever and other viral conditions, live here. They are as Jamaican as we are, and we cannot get rid of them,” said the medical officer.

Dr Phillips Kelly, who disclosed that a number of the affected individuals are children under the age of 13 years, noted that the virus is currently presenting itself with different symptoms than would normally be anticipated.

“So, the virus would normally have presented with high fever and pains for the most part, [but] now it is presenting with a high fever and abdominal symptoms. So, abdominal pains, vomiting, loose stools and some of our children would have presented with respiratory conditions as well. And we are noting that a number of our affected individuals are in the younger age group,13 [years] and under. So, we cannot disregard or discredit any case that is sent as a suspected”, she argued.

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