Permanent Secretary, Dr. Kevin Harvey says the Ministry of Health will continue to take a proactive approach and is enhancing its preparedness for any possible introduction of the zika virus into Jamaica.
He notes that the Ministry is closely following the reported case of zika virus in the Dominican Republic which the Pan American Health Organization has indicated has not yet been laboratory confirmed.
“We have alerted our Regions and parishes to continue to work closely with Local Government through the parish councils to ensure an integrated approach to controlling the mosquito population which is on the increase subsequent to the recent rains and the current weather patterns being experienced,” Dr. Harvey said.
Dr. Harvey noted that there has been an increase in nuisance mosquitoes due to the settling of water in drains and other areas.
“We however want to thank the public for their interventions and support in destroying breeding sites around the home which reduces the Aedes aegypti vector which is the one that carries diseases such as CHIKV, dengue and zikv,” he said. He says work will continue in partnership with the parish councils to reduce the general mosquito population and fogging will be done especially in high risk areas but notes that this is a temporary solution and cannot by itself solve the problem of mosquito breeding.
“We are also therefore calling on the public to not only destroy breeding sites by looking for anything around the home, school, churches and business places that may collect water and either cover it, keep it dry or dispose of it but also to protect themselves from mosquito bites by using insect repellent containing DEET, putting mesh on windows and doors and wearing long sleeved clothing where possible,” Dr. Harvey said.
Persons should also repair leaking pipes and outdoor faucets, cut the grass short and trim shrubbery, clear roof gutters and eaves to prevent water from settling and fill in and draining any low places in the yard such as areas where there are usually puddles when it rains.
The Ministry of Health thanks its stakeholders and members of the public for their support as “we continue to prepare our vector control response, our hospitals and clinics and our laboratories for any possible introduction of zikv.”