Manchester prepares for chik-V
The parish of Manchester is listed among the areas in Jamaica with the lowest confirmed cases of the chikungunya virus. However, with the recent announcement of the growing impact expected from the spread of the chikungunya virus affecting Jamaica and the Caribbean was enough to stir workers and students at Northern Caribbean University (NCU) into a proactive approach.
NCU, in collaboration with the Manchester Health Department, recently held an information session at the university's Mandeville campus with Dr Beverly Wright, medical officer of health at the Manchester Health Department. Wright, during her presentation stated that the chikungunya virus would affect at least two million Jamaicans over time
"This is an epidemic, and preventing the breeding of these parasites is everybody's responsibility. Breeding sites, especially for this parish, can be in places that we may overlook. The gutters, flower pots, trays, tanks or unused clean water which may stand idle for a while are prime areas for breeding these mosquitoes. The eggs can stay alive for long periods and it is very important that proper cleaning takes places to help prevent the spread of this epidemic," Wright said.
The medical officer of health was also keen to point out that being proactive is what has caused the parish not to be listed among those with a high number of confirmed cases. "With help from the Tourism Enhancement Fund and the parish council, the Manchester Health Department was able to work at cleaning potential breeding sites of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito," Wright said.
According to Wright, with chikungunya being a new disease to Jamaica, individuals affected by the virus will in the long-term undoubtedly affect the financial viability of the country. "Once an individual is infected, he or she becomes immune to the virus forever. Infected individuals might experience joint pain, some two weeks after the initial bout, which can be directly attributed to the infection," Wright said.
NCU's president, Dr Trevor Gardner, stated that the preventative measures and ongoing partnerships can be increased as they are put in place to make Manchester a healthy environment. "With this information now in the hands of university population, NCU stands resolute in partnering with all our stakeholders in making Manchester and Jamaica a safer environment," Gardner said.