Yellow fever lockout - Nine sent home; eight quarantined - Visitors can't prove vaccination
Jamaica has carried out its threat to deny entry to the island persons who could not prove that they were vaccinated against the yellow fever virus by turning back nine passengers who arrived in the island yesterday.
Up to press time last night, another eight were being quarantined at a hotel in Kingston.
Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton has confirmed the matter, saying that five of the passengers who were from Trinidad and Tobago arrived on Caribbean Airlines while 12 came in from Panama, on Copa Airlines. Four of the 12 were included in the nine who were sent sent back.
"We have to take yellow fever threat seriously, it's a very dangerous virus. We are following the guidelines of the WHO (World Health Organization)," he said.
He said persons should make every effort to protect themselves, indicating that vaccines were offered at the Comprehensive Clinic in Kingston and at the Type 5 health centre in Montego Bay.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Winston De La Haye also confirmed to The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre yesterday afternoon that the passengers were denied entry into the island. He said that they were barred because they could not produce evidence they had received the yellow fever vaccine.
SHOW PROOF OF VACCINATION
Following a recent rise in the disease in parts of Africa and South and Central America, the health ministry said travellers from yellow fever-endemic countries and those currently experiencing active transmission should show proof of yellow fever vaccination.
The ministry earlier last month also advised that persons without certificates of vaccination who have visited or transited countries affected by yellow fever within six days of arriving in Jamaica will be refused entry by the Ministry of Health at the island's ports.
There have been no reports of yellow fever in Jamaica. However, the ministry believes that the acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes was too close to home for the ministry to be complacent.
As a result, the decision was taken at a stakeholders meeting in Kingston recently to prevent entry to those exposed to the disease and to quarantine Jamaicans who have visited affected areas and who are not vaccinated.
Symptoms of yellow fever include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. A small proportion of patients who contract the virus develop severe symptoms, and approximately half of those die within seven to 10 days.