The Jamaican Government announced this week that 123 dengue case reports (suspected, presumed and confirmed) were reported in Dec. 2018, prompting officials to allocate an additional $250 million to support enhanced measures to contain the spread of the virus.

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

This was the first month of 2018 to exceed the threshold.

“This has been a more active season than last year (2017), and we have been observing and monitoring the numbers and increases with each month, but by the clinical standards could only claim an epidemic once the threshold is surpassed,” Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton noted.

Jamaica reported 830 total dengue cases in 2018, much higher than the 70 total cases reported the pervious year. Two confirmed dengue related fatalities were reported in 2018.

Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine and Westmoreland reported the most cases.

About two dozen confirmed cases have already been reported since the beginning of 2019.

Dr. Tufton said the Ministry has already put a number of measures in place in anticipation of an outbreak of the virus.

These include increased fogging in 300 communities with clusters of dengue cases.

The Enhanced Vector Control (EVC) program was extended to March 2019 to include the employment of an additional 500 temporary workers, who will join the effort to identify and eliminate mosquito breeding sites.