KINGSTON, Jamaica (October 11, 2012)--Health officials in Jamaica are stepping up mosquito eradication efforts and urging the public to stamp out breeding grounds to combat dengue fever.
Health Minister Fenton Ferguson says there have been five suspected deaths from the mosquito-borne virus in Jamaica so far this year, although only one has been confirmed through an autopsy.
Ferguson told reporters Thursday there have been more than 1,200 suspected cases this year, compared to 887 during the same period last year.
About half of the cases have occurred in the capital of Kingston.
Officials have dispatched fumigation trucks to spray neighborhoods.
The same battle is being fought in other Caribbean countries such as Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Victims suffer headaches, cramps and severe muscle pain. Most recover after a week, but a severe hemorrhagic form can be fatal.