This, he said, is in light of climate change and other environmental factors, which will result in mosquito-borne diseases becoming more frequent and aggressive.
Tufton, who was speaking at the Southern Regional Health Authority's (SRHA) Dengue Awareness Town Hall in Junction, St Elizabeth on Thursday, said it is therefore imperative that persons become more vigilant about destroying mosquito breeding sites in and around their homes in order to safeguard their health.
He noted that 80 per cent of breeding sites are found in the home environment.
“We need to get Jamaicans to understand that the infectious mosquito that carries the dengue is here to stay, its endemic. While in the past, we use to have seasonality in terms of when mosquitos are more often seen, because of the way climatic conditions have changed, they will come out any month of the year, any day of the week any time of the day,” he pointed out.
Tufton said that persons must work individually and collectively in eradicating mosquito breeding grounds.
“You have to be your neighbour's keeper. You have to take a community approach. Since most of the breeding sites are around the home you have to be vigilant as a community. That's why we say to people, you are the best defence in preventing dengue,” he said.
Tufton reassured Jamaicans that the Government will continue to enhance and expand its vector control activities in the fight against dengue. He also said the ministry has increased its public education campaign on prevention of the disease.
“In the next month or so you are going to see more vehicles on the road, more fogging taking place,” he informed.
He urged persons to consult a medical doctor if they experience dengue-related symptoms and warned against the practice of self-medicating.
Dengue fever is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and symptoms of the disease typically begin three to 14 days after infection.
These may include high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a skin rash. Symptoms usually last for two to seven days.