Friday 30 October, 2020

Be vigilant against dengue and leptospirosis- Health ministry

Health Promotion and Education Officer at the Westmoreland Health Department, Gerald Miller, speaks at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’, at the Regional Office in Montego Bay.

Health Promotion and Education Officer at the Westmoreland Health Department, Gerald Miller, speaks at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’, at the Regional Office in Montego Bay.

Health Promotion and Education Officer at the Westmoreland Health Department, Gerald Miller, says citizens must remain vigilant throughout the holiday season to prevent dengue fever and leptospirosis.

Mr Miller said that persons must bear in mind that there is still a dengue outbreak, and “they should use mosquito repellants that contain DEET, check for mosquito breeding sites on their premises and sleep under mosquito nets”.

He added that persons can also use insecticide sprays to kill adult mosquitoes in and around their homes.

Mr Miller is encouraging residents to look out for symptoms of the disease, which include “the sudden onset of fever, headache, joint pain, vomiting, skin rash, muscle pain, pain behind the eyes or diarrhoea”.

“If persons experience any one or more of these symptoms, they should take their paracetamol pain killers, and [we are] reminding the public not to take anything that contains ibuprofen or aspirin, as they may cause bleeding,” he added.

Persons are also advised to visit their doctor or the nearest health facility if symptoms are manifested.

Mr Miller emphasised that persons must also wear protective, lightly coloured clothing, especially while outdoors at night.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for the spread of the dengue, Zika and chikungunya viruses.

Meanwhile, Mr Miller is imploring persons not to consume food items that have come in contact with rats, as they will be susceptible to leptospirosis.

“From time to time, persons have things in the home which have been gnawed on by rats, and sometimes they remove the area that the rats bit and proceed to consume, and in so doing they may [still] eat parts of the item that was bitten and urinated on by the rodent, and that can result in persons getting leptospirosis.” Mr Miller warned.

He said that if persons are unsure if their food items have come in contact with rats, they should throw them away, adding that they should also rid their surroundings of items that could be breeding areas for rodents.

Mr Miller said that persons who harvest rainwater must be on the alert, as rats if they have access, “will urinate in the rain gutters and contaminate the water, and persons who consume the water can get leptospirosis”.

He is encouraging persons to boil their water or treat it using bleach.

Leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria that could lead to possible fatal infection of the kidney, liver, brain, lung or heart.

Symptoms of the disease include high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, jaundice, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and rash.

Failure to expeditiously treat leptospirosis can result in kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure and respiratory distress.

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