Friday 3 April, 2020

Campbell says 9-year-old has died from dengue, raises questions

Dr Dayton Campbell

Dr Dayton Campbell

The Shadow Minister of Health, Dr Dayton Campbell is raising questions about whether the country is in the midst of a second dengue outbreak and wants the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, to state whether this is so.

Campbell’s call comes in the wake of the death of a nine-year-old child at the Falmouth Hospital, reportedly from dengue fever.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the shadow minister said he has been reliably informed that the pediatric ward at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James is full and overflowing with suspected cases of the fever.

“It is in the best interest of the nation that the minister does not delay confirmation of the presence of another dengue outbreak to the nation because it has already claimed one life,” Campbell said.

He is urging Tufton to immediately update the nation as to the status of dengue as, according to him, this new cluster of cases shows 11 confirmed incidents.

“Parents, vulnerable groups and the nation at large need to know if there is an outbreak so they can take the necessary steps to save lives by responding appropriately to early symptoms,” he said.

“This cluster of dengue cases could be the first sign of a second such outbreak of dengue in a year, and that brings into question the effectiveness of the eradication programme of the ministry,” Campbell noted.

He suggested that the ministry has not done a good job in eradicating the mosquito that carries the dengue virus. 

“While we know that the host mosquito is the domestic Aedes Egypti, and that people have a role to play in its eradication, if the ministry had a sustained eradication and education programme, it would go a far way in stemming the frequency of these outbreaks,” Campbell declared.

In light of the drought facing the nation, the shadow minister is reminding Jamaicans to store water in a safe way, ensure that storage containers are covered and that a teaspoon of bleach is added to large containers of water.

Dr Campbell is reminding Jamaicans to:

- Remove breeding sites around houses, churches, schools and places of work

- Use repellants, especially on children and the vulnerable

- Wear clothes that protect the extremities.

“I am reminding people that the symptoms of dengue are the same as that of the flu, and I am urging Jamaicans to seek medical advice if they experience these symptoms,” said Campbell.

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