JIS News

A one-day fever surveillance and mosquito control programme was carried out at the Pedro Cays on Tuesday (Feb. 13) in an effort to identify cases of malaria on the cays.
A 30-man team comprising personnel from the Ministries of Health and Agriculture and Lands, the Kingston and St. Andrew Health Department, the St. Elizabeth Health Department, and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard, conducted a house-to-house survey and tested persons for the disease. Vector control intervention, search and destroy and fogging exercises, were also carried out. “The response was pretty good,” said Dr. Andrew Salmon, team leader and Acting Medical Officer of Health for St. Catherine. “It (the surveillance) provided us with a critical opportunity to carry out a public education programme, which is important for the whole management of malaria,” he added.
He told JIS News that Pedro Cays was targeted because it was a regular stopover spot for fishermen, who often plied neighbouring countries that have malaria cases, making the area a susceptible transmission point.
According to Dr. Salmon, identifying high-risk areas for malaria was one of the primary motives behind the Ministry’s surveillance programme. “So, if we can target these areas and pick up where there are cases that have been imported, then we’d be a step ahead,” he pointed out.
He informed that by weekend, the results of the samples taken should be available, and the Health Ministry would be able to have a clear picture of what was happening on the cays. “We have instituted a follow-up treatment programme as we are working with medics from the JDF marines and have advised persons going off-shore to take medication with them, and on their return, the marines will follow up,” he told JIS News. Lying 64 kilometres South, South West of Portland Point, Clarendon, the Pedro Cays consist of four islets and a number of smaller reefs. The cays are important bird nesting and roosting areas and represent the primary harvesting area for the queen conch. Approximately 400 persons live on the cays.

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