Clarendon on high Zika Virus alert
Medical Officer of Health at the Clarendon Health Department (CHD), Dr Kimberly Scarlett Campbell, has called on citizens to do their part in trying to mitigate against the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
"The message for the Christmas season is that we need to do some disaster mitigation to try to reduce mosquito breeding in our surroundings," Campbell said last Thursday.
"The new health minister (Horace Dalley) met with us and advised us that there needs to be more accountability at the parish level. As such, he also advised us to make preparation for ZikV because as of Wednesday [last week], ZikV is now in 10 countries in the region of the Americas. It's important that we increase our preparedness for the possible introduction of ZikV into the island," said Campbell, noting that the health department was in the preparation stage. She told last Thursday's parish council meeting that in the event that the virus reaches Jamaica, her department would be working feverishly to ensure that Clarendon is not affected.
Campbell said Dalley has pledged to assign approximately 100 temporary vector-control workers to the parish to help with clean-up activities in getting rid of the aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the virus.
"Based on the latest information we have received on the virus from the PAHO [Pan-American Health Organisation], it has been associated with 19 deaths and 1,761 cases of affected babies," said Campbell.
She added: "It has been a good year for public health in Clarendon, all our indices are down for communicable diseases such as dengue and leptospirosis. I commend the council for sending out the messages and being proactive by encouraging their constituents to clean up their environment. The efforts made by the parish council have played out in our statistics. The only challenge we had this year was with the hand-foot-and-mouth disease. The country had a challenge, and so we are still having some challenges with it. We had 106 cases of the disease at the CHD and so the public education campaign continues to sensitise persons on how to handle the disease."