JIS News

Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding has confirmed that the health authorities now have the capacity to do local testing for Influenza A (H1N1).
“Up to last week, specimens would have had to be sent to the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) in Port-of-Spain for analysis. We have now received the necessary primers and we have the reagents and the competence to do the testing at our own facilities at the University Hospital,” Mr. Golding said Tuesday (May 5).
He said that this will enable the local authorities to make a determination in suspected cases in a much shorter time.
Mr. Golding was speaking in the 2009/2020 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives.
He also reiterated that the country’s health authorities are on full alert for the virus and have put in place measures to detect any case of infection that may arise and contain its spread, including heightened surveillance of travellers entering Jamaica.
“Thankfully, no such cases have up to now been identified. We have secured additional supplies of the recommended medication and we have standby arrangements to bring in more supplies should the need arise,” Mr. Golding said.
He noted that the Government was paying special attention to schools, and the Ministry of Education has issued instructions as to the immediate procedures to be followed, once suspicions of possible infection have arisen.
“I appeal to the public to be vigilant and follow the health advisories issued by the Ministry of Health. I appeal to parents, especially, to monitor their children and ensure that they observe proper hygiene,” he stated.
The Prime Minister also explained that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has assured that there is no risk in consuming pork once it is properly handled and prepared.
“The danger is not infection from pork, but transmission from one person to another. There is no need, therefore, to make pig farmers a casualty of this outbreak,” he added.

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