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Story Highlights

  • Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, is encouraging persons to remain alert and prepared for what he describes as the inevitable onset of other new and re-emerging vector-borne diseases.
  • The Government, through a team headed by the Ministry, has, over the past year, visited and inspected some 300,000 locations, including homes, churches, and public institutions, in a bid to eliminate mosquito breeding sites.
  • Persons displaying symptoms synonymous with Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue, and other vector-borne diseases, including fever, itching and rash outbreaks, redness of the eyes, and joint and muscle pain, are advised to see a doctor.

Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, is encouraging persons to remain alert and prepared for what he describes as the inevitable onset of other new and re-emerging vector-borne diseases.

His statement comes against the background of the Chikungunya and Zika virus outbreaks in Jamaica in 2014 and this year, as also the re-emergence of Dengue Fever during the period.

“We can’t stop these things from happening because we are an open society; people travel…, so we are always going to be exposed. But it is how we conduct ourselves that is going to bring us the best form of protection,” the Minister states.

He was speaking at the launch of the third leg of the Health Ministry’s ‘Operation: Mosquito Search and Destroy’ clean-up campaign, at the Mandeville Town Centre in Manchester on Saturday, April 9.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton has emphasized the need for persons to properly secure containers used to store water for domestic and other purposes.

He said this was important in order to prevent the breeding of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito which transmits Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue.

Dr. Tufton said inspections conducted by the Ministry in various communities since last year, revealed that 75 per cent of mosquito breeding sites found were located in water storage containers.

“If we want to get rid…of the problem, then, as citizens,…we must…make sure that those containers are (secured) in a particular way – whether covered or whatever way – to protect us against the (creation of) breeding sites; because if there is no mosquito, then there is no risk of us contracting the (viruses) that the Aedes Aegypti carries,” he stated.

The Government, through a team headed by the Ministry, has, over the past year, visited and inspected some 300,000 locations, including homes, churches, and public institutions, in a bid to eliminate mosquito breeding sites.

Much of the activities have been carried out under the ‘Operation: Mosquito Search and Destroy’ initiative, which began in St. Catherine, before moving to St. Ann, and thence to Manchester. The initiative will eventually be undertaken in all 14 parishes.

Dr. Tufton pointed out that the project aims to highlight the challenge posed by the mosquito’s prevalence and demonstrate how best to effectively address it.

“Most importantly, it is intended to mobilize, motivate, and inform Jamaicans to recognize that the real solution to our problems is for us to take responsibility of our immediate environment. It is true that Government has a responsibility; (but) the primary responsibility for your health and the healthiness of your environment rests with you, the individual,” he emphasized

Meanwhile, Mayor of Mandeville, Councillor Brenda Ramsay, and Member of Parliament for North West Manchester, Mikael Phillips, who participated in the launch and subsequent proceedings, welcomed the initiative.

While noting challenges in ridding some communities of breeding sites, they nonetheless pledged to continue working with the Ministry and other stakeholders, to educate citizens about proper water storage and maintaining clean environments.

Following the launch, participants conducted clean-up activities in the Greenvale community.

These included: removing refuse and other material found or deemed to be potential mosquito breeding sites; demonstrating how to identify and get rid of these sites; and distributing educational materials

The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is found in and around areas where people live, work and play.

 

Persons displaying symptoms synonymous with Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue, and other vector-borne diseases, including fever, itching and rash outbreaks, redness of the eyes, and joint and muscle pain, are advised to see a doctor.