Take steps to prevent mosquito-borne diseases - Ferguson
JAMAICANS ARE being urged to clean up their environment to reduce the threat of chikungunya and dengue fever in the wake of recent rainfall across sections of the country.
Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson, who sounded the note of caution about the possible threat of mosquito-borne diseases, encouraged householders to search for and destroy mosquito-breeding sites around the home, school, church, and place of business.
"Dengue fever and chikungunya are transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which primarily breeds in clean water, which settles in containers around places inhabited by humans. The best way to effectively reduce the spread of these diseases is to prevent the breeding of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads the viruses," Ferguson explained.
Individuals should get rid of mosquito-breeding sites by looking for anything in which water can settle and either cover it, keep the area dry, clean it regularly, fill it with soil or sand, punch holes into it and recycle, or properly dispose of it. If mesh is used to cover containers, then the holes should be small enough so that mosquitoes cannot enter.
The health minister said drums that are used to store water have been found to be the main breeding sites for mosquitoes, and so individuals need to pay special attention to these containers.
He said the ministry distributed specially designed drum covers to the parish councils recently for use in communities as part of their integrated vector-management strategy.
The dengue and chikungunya viruses can only be spread by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. When the mosquito bites an infected person, it can transmit the virus to others bitten afterwards.
Individuals who wish to obtain more information on dengue fever and the chikungunya virus may call the Ministry of Health or visit the nearest health centre.