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Story Highlights

  • Jamaica has recorded one case of the mosquito-borne virus, which is strongly suspected of causing serious birth defects in babies born to infected mothers.
  • Symptoms of the Zika Virus appear after an incubation period of three to 12 days and include a rash, fever, conjunctivitis (red eye), joint pain and nausea.

Chief Medical Officer of Health for St. Catherine, Dr. Francia Prosper-Chen, is urging greater public participation in community clean-up activities in order to eliminate the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the Zika Virus.

Jamaica has recorded one case of the mosquito-borne virus, which is strongly suspected of causing serious birth defects in babies born to infected mothers.

Dr. Prosper-Chen said that destroying mosquito breeding sites remains the primary method of preventing an outbreak of the virus in the country and everyone has a role to play in the effort.

“Neighbours must come together to clean up the backyards…all of these debris that we have around us that collects in communities, these are areas where the mosquito will breed…we need to start listening to the messages and acting on them more,” she said.

Dr. Prosper-Chen was addressing a special joint meeting of the Rotary Clubs of Spanish Town, Portmore, North St. Catherine and St. Andrew North, held on Tuesday, (February 23) at the Police Officers’ Club on Hope Road in Kingston

“We have to take Zika virus seriously…the first and only thing we do have control over is our homes, our backyards and to a certain extent our communities. Social mobilisation, community participation, individual responsibility… that is the only way to beat the virus,” she added.

Dr. Prosper-Chen is also advising persons to apply mosquito repellent that contains DEET; wear long sleeved, light coloured clothing; install screens on doors and windows; and to consider sleeping under mosquito nets.

She said persons should also cover water storage drums and clean roof gutters, air conditioning and refrigerator trays. She also urged regular cleaning of dish drainers and flower pots to remove mosquito eggs.

Symptoms of the Zika Virus appear after an incubation period of three to 12 days and include a rash, fever, conjunctivitis (red eye), joint pain and nausea.