Jamaica’s health ministry reports increase in respiratory illnesses

April 19, 2023  -Jamaica’s Ministry of Health and Wellness has reported that there is an increase in respiratory illnesses in the country.

It also reminded citizens that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over.

According to the ministry, the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2), influenza B, influenza A, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are the most common respiratory viruses in Jamaica and have contributed to the current rise in respiratory infections.

It further said that Influenza (flu) and RSV usually cause seasonal increases in respiratory illnesses in Jamaica and other countries yearly.

The health ministry reported an increase in weekly visits to public health facilities for influenza-like illnesses. It also revealed that admissions for severe acute respiratory illnesses have increased in the past two weeks.

As it relates to COVID-19, the ministry said that the seven-day average positivity rate as at April 15 was 6.8%, and shared that the highly transmissible Omicron is the COVID-19 variant that is presently circulating in Jamaica.

The health ministry added that currently prevalent respiratory viruses can result in complications such as pneumonia, sinus, ear, and blood infections. It also shared that the viruses can make chronic medical issues like heart or lung illness worse.

In highlighting those at the highest risk, it noted that infants and young children, adults 60 years and older, pregnant women, and persons with chronic medical conditions or weakened immune systems are susceptible to these complications.

The ministry says it will continue to monitor the situation and provide necessary updates.

To safeguard themselves against respiratory infections, Jamaicans are advised to take the necessary preventative measures.

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