Now health ministry admits one dengue-related death

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

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The Ministry of Health is now reporting that there has been one presumed dengue-related death so far this year.

The information runs counter to Sunday's news release by the ministry stating that there were no confirmed reports of dengue-related deaths on the island.

Sunday's news release was issued in response to the lead story in the Jamaica Observer that day reporting the concerns of a Hanover resident that two deaths in that parish, between December 2017 and April 2018, were caused by dengue fever.

The Hanover resident, Keisha Rhodes, said that autopsy reports indicated that the two individuals close to her had died of dengue fever.

In relation to Rhodes' concerns the health ministry had sent responses to the Observer saying that between May 2017 and April 2018 there were 227 suspected cases, 13 confirmed cases, and only one confirmed death relating to dengue fever.

Last night, the health ministry said the dengue-related death this year is based on a positive Antibody Blood Test (IgM) in respect of one person who died, but noted that confirmation is only made with a positive dengue PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test which, in this instance, was negative.

“Up to June 11, 2018, the Ministry of Health received a total of six notifications of possible dengue-related deaths. In addition to the case mentioned above, two other deaths fit the clinical case definition for dengue-related deaths. These other two deaths fit the clinical case definition but have no positive dengue results (IgM or PCR), and therefore remain suspected cases,” the press release stated.

Additionally, the release said the remaining three of the six notifications do not fit the case definition for dengue-related deaths based on the information provided on the notifications and are not considered suspected cases at this time. However, the ministry continues to investigate these cases.

“Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus and is endemic in Jamaica. The virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected female Aedes aegypti mosquito. The Aedes is the same vector that transmits the chikungunya and zika viruses. Symptoms for dengue typically begin three to 14 days after infection. This may include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a skin rash. Symptoms usually last two to seven days. There is no specific treatment for dengue, but access to proper medical care reduces mortality rates,” the release said.

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