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ZikV prevention is everybody's business - Dalley

Published:Wednesday | January 20, 2016 | 1:00 AMChristopher Serju

Health Minister Horace Dalley is calling on every Jamaican to get directly involved in the national drive to reduce the number of mosquito breeding sites across the island in order to reduce the spread of the Zika virus for which the Aedes aegypti mosquito is the vector.

With the Zika virus already identified in 16 countries in the Americas, including the Caribbean countries of Barbados and Guyana, the health ministry told a press conference at the Spanish Court Hotel, New Kingston, yesterday that it is only a matter of time before it reaches Jamaica's shores. For this reason, he wants Jamaicans to treat the issue with a sense of national urgency.

"There is no way that we alone from the public purse can combat the spread of this mosquito and, therefore, every single church, every school administrator, every work site, every factory, everywhere people are gathered, every family must understand that this Zika virus is a threat to the public health of Jamaica," he said.

"We will mobilise our workers, those who are paid from the public purse - our doctors, our nurses, our teachers, our public health inspectors and all those people who have to interface with the public - but we alone cannot do it.

He continued: "Every single citizen must understand that this is a threat to the public health of the country, and we invite every citizen, every family to take the time to check your homes, check your work sites, check the environment in which you operate - every club, every restaurant, everywhere people gather and there is water - to ensure that the mosquito is not breeding there."

To this end, Caribbean Cement Company Limited, which operates out of Rockfort, St Andrew, has committed $2.3 million to train and employ 100 workers for two weeks to carry out vector-control activities in neighbouring communities. The health ministry will train the workers, who will be supervised by the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation in a private public-sector partnership Dalley is hopeful other companies will be quick to support.