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Health ministry encouraged by citizens' response to ZikV, H1N1

Published:Wednesday | March 23, 2016 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin

A call from the Ministry of Health for persons to do the necessary checks to mitigate against the impact of both the Zika virus (ZikV) and the H1N1 (swine flu) has not fallen on deaf ears.

That is according to chief medical officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr Winston De La Haye, who indicated that he is encouraged by the increased level of response from citizens.

Officials from the ministry have been urging persons who are vulnerable to contracting the H1N1 to get vaccinated. A second medical doctor succumbed to complications of the swine flu last Saturday.




The ministry also confirmed that the number of cases of ZikV in Jamaica has now gone up to five. The ministry has also implored persons to do regular cleaning of their surroundings to eliminate mosquito-breeding sites.

"Generally, we think more persons are coming in and heeding the advice that is being given, and we know this by the number of samples that we have been able to send. We have been having increased number of samples and an increased number of persons visiting the clinics," the medical officer told The Gleaner.

"We think persons have not only been listening, but acting on what we have been saying. The work continues not only for this season but as we go on. It is important that we work towards bringing about a change in behaviour and culture among our people, which will assist in prevention efforts," he said.

De La Haye added: "Cari-Med, for example, has brought in at least 11,000 vials since the last two months and they don't have hands to sell. In doing our forward calculation, we think we need about 100,000 vials for the next two seasons."

He noted that more work needs to be done to meet the standards of the World Health Organization which stipulates that of every 100 homes, no more than 10 homes should be found having breeding sites.

"In Jamaica, however, we are likely to find up to 60 per cent of homes having breeding sites, which means there is more groundwork to be done," he said.