Thu | Sep 21, 2017

ZIKV more prevalent than you think

Published:Tuesday | April 18, 2017 | 4:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I saw in your paper on Sunday where Dr Winston De La Haye of the Ministry of Health is claiming that there has been around 8,000 suspected cases of ZIKV in the last 15 months in Jamaica. Disappointingly, I find this number to be completely missing the mark and thereby understating the real impact of ZIKV.

In my opinion, here in Portmore, with well over 200,000 citizens, I am sure that more than 40,000 citizens have been impacted by ZIKV. One just has to walk from one house to another.

A little word to the wise: As a still recovering victim of chik-V, I strongly suggest that Health Minister Chris Tufton not fall in the same trap that a previous minister got caught in by hurling numbers that are not in line with what really exists out there.

Thankfully, ZIKV is mild, and many persons, numbering in their thousands, who have had it but have not gone to a doctor for a check-up. Rather, they have self-medicated and waited it out. For pregnant women, though, it is a dangerous virus.

The health ministry and Dr De La Haye frankly need to improve how they dispense information to the public and stop playing the wild numbers game in the interest of trying to look good.

The ministry has a long way to go in restoring its credibility and should focus more on steps to prevent the contraction of ZIKV and work with our municipal corporations and other authorities in cleaning up the country and encouraging citizens to eliminate mosquito-breeding sites.

JENNIFER WILSON

Greater Portmore

St Catherine