LINSTEAD: Child dies amid dengue scare in her community, hospital woes

A child died yesterday amid a dengue fever scare in the Rosemount Housing Scheme area of Linstead, St Catherine, where the late child lived.

The deceased is Karissa Frazer, a student at Smart Start Basic School in Linstead.

The exact cause of death is yet to be ascertained.

Karissa, who was asthmatic, was reportedly displaying fever-like symptoms.

When contacted, Principal at Smart Start, Jennifer Walker, said Karissa did not attend school for a few days leading up to her death.

“Although she had asthma problems, she was still active at school, but for a week she wasn’t well and she was at home. We feel very sad,” she said, adding that she has been in contact with the bereaved family.

Walker further stated that she is not aware of any child at the school currently displaying fever-like symptoms. “The school is clean; the school doesn’t have anything to do with the child’s death,” she added.

In the meantime, some residents of Rosemount Housing Scheme told The Beacon that a number of children in the community have been showing dengue fever-like symptoms.

“We need someone to look into the matter urgently,” one parent appealed, adding that some children from the said community were taken to Linstead Public Hospital because they are suspected of having dengue fever.

The parent also expressed concerns about conditions at Linstead Public Hospital especially as it relates to the treatment of children.

“A few of the children were transferred to Spanish Town Hospital because there are no pediatricians on staff at Linstead Public Hospital,” the parent lamented.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness, in the meantime, this week announced that children 12 years old and younger can now access free medical care at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI).

It added that the arrangement is part of a continued response to the increase in viral illnesses and consequent overcrowding at hospitals usually seen this time of year – including at Bustamante Hospital for Children.

“Children and the elderly are among the most vulnerable groups, especially at this time as the country continues to battle with the increase in dengue cases and as the flu and gastro seasons intensify,” said Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie.


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