Heightened alert as ZIKV confirmed in Haiti
IN THE wake of confirmed reports that the Zika virus (ZIKV) has been detected in the nearby Caribbean island of Haiti, the Western Regional Health Authority, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, is stepping up its public-education programme in western Jamaica.
Over this weekend, all major townships as well as some rural communities in the parishes of St James, Trelawny, Hanover and Westmoreland will be flooded with information through flyers, town crier and mass media, alerting citizens of the threat of this mosquito-borne disease.
Technical director of the Western Regional Health Authority, Dr Dianne Campbell Stennett, said the heightened alert is being done in the western region, as Montego Bay is the gateway for more than 80 per cent of visitors travelling to Jamaica.
She said while systems are in place at the airports and seaports to detect anyone with symptoms of the disease, the local population must be on high alert. Campbell said everyone should play his part to prevent the breeding of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito which transmits the Zika virus.
Today, a health team from the Western Regional Health Authority will be roving the streets and places where people gather in large numbers, such as the markets and shopping centres. They will be handing out material and educating the public on Zika virus prevention. Public sensitisation will also be done in places of worship.
The key messages are: Protect yourself from mosquito bites and prevent mosquito breeding. Use a mosquito repellant containing DEET and sleep under a mosquito net. Wear light-coloured clothing and cover up your body as much as possible. Everyone should actively search for and destroy mosquito breeding sites in and around his home, workplace and place of worship, every week. Cover drums tightly and organise clean-up campaigns in your community.