Ferguson urges citizens to take responsibility for mosquito control
HEALTH MINISTER Dr Fenton Ferguson has appealed to Jamaicans to take personal responsibility in helping to stem the fight against the chikungunya virus.
"What we need is for the country, working with the Government, to recognise personal responsibility," Ferguson said in the House of Representatives yesterday.
He noted that the virus is spread by the Aedes aegepti mosquito, which mainly breeds in domestic areas, and said while the State was working on the one hand to rid the country of breeding sites, citizens must assist in the fight.
"Do you believe that it is fair to say that Government must come in your backyard and deal with those tins and barrels and other things that have water in (them)? There must be personal responsibility. I believe that Government must lead. We must lead, but personal responsibility must be part of it," the minister said.
As of Tuesday, Ferguson said, seven of Jamaica's 14 parishes have turned up cases of chikungunya. The parishes are St Mary, Portland, St Thomas, Kingston, St Andrew, St Catherine and St Ann.
The minister also said that as of September 13, there were 524 notifications of which 251 were classified as suspected cases. He also said that, as of Tuesday, 31 cases were laboratory confirmed and 194 cases have been marked as suspected.
In a statement to the House of Representatives, he urged Jamaicans to designate a date for clean-up activities in a bid to destroy mosquito-breeding sites.
"While we expect to see increased cases after which there should begin to be a decline, the power is in our hands to reduce the spread of this vector-borne disease," the minister said.
"Each person, therefore, has to make a concerted effort to remove mosquito-breeding sites from their surroundings as a routine weekly activity. "