Fever and Rash Surveillance System in High Gear

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Health has heightened its fever and rash surveillance system, as part of measures to monitor suspected cases of the Zika Virus (ZikV).
  • In the meantime, Mr. Dalley said the Ministry has activated its National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), which is coordinating the country’s response to the Zika Virus (ZikV).
  • Mr. Dalley said a fogging blitz began in the community on the same night that the confirmation result was received. “This means fogging for three consecutive nights and repeating this weekly for the next three weeks,” he said.

The Ministry of Health has heightened its fever and rash surveillance system, as part of measures to monitor suspected cases of the Zika Virus (ZikV).

ZikV is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is found in and around areas where people live, work and play.

“The islandwide enhanced surveillance system is in place to monitor all fever and rash cases, neurological syndromes and congenital malformations and any other presentations consistent with Zika,” Portfolio Minister, Hon. Horace Dalley, said.

He was speaking at a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kingston, today (February 2).

In the meantime, Mr. Dalley said the Ministry has activated its National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), which is coordinating the country’s response to the Zika Virus (ZikV).

The NEOC is the designated administrative hub of Jamaica’s disaster response and recovery operations. Full activation involves all partner agencies reporting to the centre.

Mr. Dalley said that since the first confirmed case in the island has been reported, the Ministry has notified the WHO/PAHO as is part of the country’s obligation under the International Health Regulations.

“We have made contact with senior teams from the Caribbean Public Health Agency, PAHO Jamaica and Washington, and the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, to discuss the matter and they will continue to assist us in our investigations,” he said.

In the meantime, he informed that a total of 1,894 households in and around the vicinity of the first index case were visited for fever surveillance and 1,355 interviews were conducted.

He noted also that blood samples were collected and sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for testing.

Mr. Dalley said a fogging blitz began in the community on the same night that the confirmation result was received. “This means fogging for three consecutive nights and repeating this weekly for the next three weeks,” he said.

He further noted that within Portmore, St. Catherine, where the case was detected, the Ministry has deployed additional resources as well as enhance surveillance and public awareness.

ZikV is from the same family of viruses as Dengue and Chikungunya, and share similar symptoms, which include fever, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis, headache, weakness, rash and swelling of the lower limbs.

The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe illness requiring hospitalisation is uncommon.

Jamaica is among 25 countries in the Latin American and Caribbean Region that have confirmed Zika cases.

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