The Ministry of Health and Wellness has reported 6114 cases of dengue fever on the island nation between January and the first week of November in 2019. Only 2235 cases were reported in 2018, indicating a 174 percent increase. A total of 44 dengue-related deaths have also been reported, up from 17 the year prior.
Further spread of the disease is possible in the coming weeks.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease found mostly in urban and semi-urban areas. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, nausea, and rash. In a small number of cases, the potentially deadly dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) may develop, resulting in internal bleeding, enlargement of the liver, and high fever.
Individuals present in Jamaica are advised to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites (e.g. by wearing covering clothing, using insect repellent, and sleeping in a screened-in or air-conditioned room) and to eliminate possible mosquito breeding grounds on their properties (e.g. small pockets of fresh water, such as rainwater that has collected in cans, bottles, tires, flower pots, clogged gutters, etc.).