Jamaicans urged to take precautions against Zika virus
MINISTER OF HEALTH Horace Dalley is urging Jamaicans to be proactive and take the necessary measures to eradicate mosquito-breeding sites around their homes and communities.
He said that this will assist in the Government’s Zika Virus (ZikV) Preparedness and Response that is currently being carried out.
“Every single Jamaican must understand and realise that the Zika Virus is not a myth and it is now confirmed by PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) that it is in Panama and Venezuela…Be prepared for the Zika Virus,” he said.
ZikV is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is found in and around areas where people live, work and play.
“We need all hands on deck, we will do the things we need to do in the central ministry, the monitoring, the fogging, etcetera,” he said, adding that the ministry will be acquiring additional fogging equipment.
He said that a total of 1 000 youth workers have been engaged to identify and destroy mosquito-breeding sites in communities across the island through funding from the National Health Fund (NHF).
They will also help to sensitise residents on how to rid their surroundings of mosquitoes, and avoid mosquito bites, as well as participate in a public education campaign via the media.
Also, he called on members of the private sector to partner with the Government to undertake fogging activities in communities.
“For example, a private sector company could say, I will take Norbrook and I will fog Norbrook, for example, once per week for the next four weeks. Another could say, I will fog Mona for you, once per week…that’s the type of cooperation we would like with the Ministry of Health,” he said.
Symptoms of ZikV include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe illness requiring hospitalisation is uncommon.
As at December 1, several countries in the Americas have confirmed the outbreak of ZikV. These are Brazil, Chile (on Easter Island), Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Suriname, and Venezuela. (Jamaica Observer)