The Ministry of Health says Jamaica is grappling with a dengue fever outbreak.

The revelation was made less than an hour ago by Health Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton. Minister Tufton called an emergency media conference at his New Kingston headquarters. It was revealed that there has been two confirmed dengue-related deaths in 2018; the latest coming in December last year.

The announcement of the outbreak comes exactly a month after the Health Ministry reported the country was hit by an almost 200-percent increase in cases of dengue fever last year compared to the corresponding period for 2017.

Health Minister, Dr. Tufton says although there were signs the dengue virus was on the rise, the government didn’t record an outbreak until today.

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He says the last dengue fever outbreak was in 2016. Minister Tufton says emergency measures have been put in place to combat the outbreak.

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He says an additional sum of $250-million will be spent on emergency actions such as vector control.

Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer, Jacqueline Bisasor-McKenzie says there were seven suspected dengue-related deaths last year.

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Dengue fever is transmitted by the Aedes Egypti mosquito, which carries the virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, joint, and muscle pains.

Meanwhile, Dr Tufton is warning the public against the dangers of self-medicating if symptoms of dengue fever present themselves.

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Dr. Tufton is also urging people to destroy mosquito breeding sites.

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It was revealed that more than 800 people were infected or suspected of being infected with dengue fever in 2018