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Story Highlights

  • As the Government intensifies preparedness for any possible introduction of the Zika Virus (ZikV), Health Minister, Hon. Horace Dalley, is calling for the full support of the business sector in the campaign to destroy mosquito breeding sites across the island.
  • 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).
  • Entomologist in the Health Ministry, Sherine Huntley-Jones, noted that ZikV is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is found in and around areas where people live, work, and play.

As the Government intensifies preparedness for any possible introduction of the Zika Virus (ZikV), Health Minister, Hon. Horace Dalley, is calling for the full support of the business sector in the campaign to destroy mosquito breeding sites across the island.

“We cannot sit and wait until the population is suffering before we start to collaborate and to do what we have to…this is the start of the defence against this Zika Virus (ZikV) and we are depending on all,” the Minister said.

He was speaking at a sensitisation session for young people, who have been trained as vector control workers, as part of the Government’s Zika Virus Preparedness and Response, held on Tuesday (December 15), at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

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 mosquito, and avoid mosquito bites, as well as participate in a public education campaign via the media.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, who also addressed the session, informed that the illegal storage of old tyres has been identified as a major breeding ground for mosquitoes. As such, he said the Ministry will be proposing heftier fines for such practice.

Entomologist in the Health Ministry, Sherine Huntley-Jones, noted that ZikV is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is found in and around areas where people live, work, and play.

“It is in our homes, near to our business places, and school environment,” she pointed out.

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, nine 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.