The Ministry of Health has confirmed three (3) new cases of the Zika virus. Two of these new cases were confirmed at the virology lab at the University Hospital of the West Indies this week and the other was tested at CARPHA. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Jamaica to four (4).
Two of the cases were detected in Greater Portmore and Christian Meadows, St. Catherine and one in Lyssons, St. Thomas. Similar to increased surveillance as a result of the first case identified, which led to the MOH Public Health team visiting approximately 4,000 homes in the area, the Public Health team is currently conducting fever surveillance and contact investigation in the affected communities.
We have also commenced a fogging blitz in the affected communities. This means that fogging will take place in the communities for three consecutive nights per week for three weeks to eradicate adult Aedes aegypti mosquitoes which spread the zika, dengue and chikungunya viruses.
Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton says these new confirmations underscore the need for communities to actively participate in the Ministry’s “Operation: Mosquito Search and Destroy” initiative to ensure that breeding sites for mosquitoes are eliminated.
“We must intensify our efforts to rid our homes, schools, business places and churches of breeding sites for mosquitoes especially the Aedes aegypti which spreads the zika, chikungunya and dengue viruses. We have the power to limit the spread of these diseases since the mosquito is mostly found around places where people live and frequent,” he said.
Persons displaying symptoms such as fever, rash, eye redness, joint and muscle pain are urged to see a doctor, who will determine whether or not they are suspected cases and get the necessary testing done and sent to the National Public Health Lab.
All persons, but especially pregnant women should do everything to protect themselves from mosquito bites. This can be done by using insect repellent containing DEET, sleeping under a mosquito net, putting mesh on windows and doors and wearing long sleeved clothing where possible.
Individuals who wish to obtain more information may call the Ministry of Health or the nearest health centre. Persons may also visit our website at moh.gov.jm and like and follow us on www.facebook.com/themohgovjm; https://twitter.com/themohgovjm; https://instagram.com/themohgovjm.