New River residents want dengue to stay away

December 11, 2019

If you are a visitor to New River, St Elizabeth, you may be tempted to take all the precautions in the world not to be bitten by mosquitoes, for fear of contracting dengue fever.

But residents will tell you that there is no need to be alarmed as the mosquitoes there are not the Aedes aegypti - the ones that spread the virus.

"That type of mosquito is not down here, thankfully," Rita Hamilton, a resident, said.

Last month, Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton told Parliament that since 2019, there have been 10,559 notifications of dengue cases in Jamaica. He also stated that there have been more than 40 deaths. The death toll has inched closer to 50.

"Mi really feel sorry for all the people dem who it a affect," Hamilton said.

New River is one of St Elizabeth's flood-prone areas, and this was evident in some sections where stagnant waters stood outside several homes.

Hamilton's home is situated across from a large body of stagnant water that is covered with leaves and morass. She said that while the water attracts mosquitoes and other insects, it is not the breeding place for the Aedes aegypti. Like other residents, she is hoping that dengue stays far from the community.

"Just recently, me hear two people a complain about body pain, but it wasn't the virus at all. We are really glad it is not here, because that virus is no joke," Hamilton said.

Symptoms of dengue fever include sudden, high fever, severe headaches, pain behind the eyes, severe joint and muscle pain, and fatigue. Infected persons may also experience nausea, vomiting and skin rash, which appears two to five days after the onset of fever.

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