ZikV Alert - Health Ministry urges action
Minister of Health Horace Dalley has reiterated his call for Jamaicans to take the necessary steps to protect themselves from the Zika virus (ZikV) and other mosquito-borne diseases as the Ministry of Health heightens its response to the spread of Zika in the region and its threat to Jamaica.
Dalley has called on communities, church and school administrators, businesses and householders to search for and destroy mosquito-breeding sites.
"I am urging every Jamaican to band together and help to rid their communities of mosquito-breeding sites," said Dalley in an appeal last week.
"If we all take just 10 minutes each week to search our premises and get rid of anything in which water can settle and either cover it, keep it dry or dispose of it, that will go a far way in reducing the mosquito population," added Dalley.
"It is the task of every citizen to get rid of this mosquito. Those who are in the high-risk group, especially pregnant women, need to be particularly vigilant as they are likely to experience severe symptoms if they contract the Zika virus," said Dalley.
Persons should also protect themselves from mosquito bites by using insect repellent containing DEET, putting mesh on windows and doors and wearing long-sleeved clothing where possible.
According to Dalley, his ministry will be hosting training sessions for more than 1,000 youth workers, who will undertake community interventions across the island, including education about the Zika virus.
He said there will be a meeting with the Ministry of Local Government and the parish councils for them to assist with coordinating Zika-response activities.
Ten countries in the Americas have reported transmission of the Zika virus. They are Brazil, Chile (Easter Island), Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, and Venezuela.
There have also been reports of a possible link of Zika virus infection to microcephaly, which results in an abnormal growth of the brain and stunting of the growth of the head of the foetus arising from infection in the first months of pregnancy.