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Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Health is partnering with the Local Government and Community Development Ministry to reproduce and distribute the special drum covers that have been developed to guard against the breeding of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
  • The covers are for use on 45–55 gallon drums, which the Health Ministry has found, are the main breeding habitat for the Aedes aegypti, which transmits the Zika virus.
  • Going forward, the Parish Councils will be responsible for production and distribution.

The Ministry of Health is partnering with the Local Government and Community Development Ministry to reproduce and distribute the special drum covers that have been developed to guard against the breeding of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

The covers are for use on 45–55 gallon drums, which the Health Ministry has found, are the main breeding habitat for the Aedes aegypti, which transmits the Zika virus. They are made of mesh, allowing for the collection of water while creating a barrier to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in the containers.

The covers were introduced to Local Government Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, and Parish Councillors, at a meeting at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Tuesday (July 28), and samples presented to the Councillors to take back to their communities.

Medical Entomologist in the Health Ministry, Sheila Huntley Jones, said the hope is for the Parish Councillors to engage community members in the reproduction of the covers.

The move, she said, is aimed at activity engaging communities and to have persons take responsibility for their role in vector control.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, in his remarks at the meeting, said with householders across the island storing water, due to the severe drought conditions, there is potential for increased levels of mosquito breeding.

 

“Our vector surveillance data has shown that the widely used 45-55 gallon drums are…accounting for over 80 per cent of the total number of breeding sites. The Ministry has decided to take a targeted approach in dealing with these containers with the view that a reduction of mosquito breeding in these containers will significantly reduce the overall mosquito population in the geographical area,” he said.

In addition to the use of the drum covers, the Health Ministry is imploring persons to be vigilant in eliminating mosquito breeding sites in an around their homes.

This includes frequent emptying and cleaning of water storage containers, and use of insecticides and biological control agents to kill larvae.

Dr. Ferguson is also calling on Local Government leaders to get their communities involved in clean-up activities.

“Reducing mosquito breeding sites requires the engagement of communities as this is a key factor in assuring sustainability for vector control,” he said.

Mr. Arscott, welcomed the partnership between the Ministries in strengthening the vector control programme.

“The Parish Councils play a critical role in educating and providing the requisite resources to assist community members to make informed decisions in protecting their health…once we can control the breeding sites, then we would have already begun to win the war on vector management,” Mr. Arscott said.

The Health Minister will be distributing the drum covers to two communities in St. Catherine and St. Thomas that show high levels of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Going forward, the Parish Councils will be responsible for production and distribution.