St Ann targets mosquitoes in Zikv fight
OCHO RIOS, St Ann:
The parish of St Ann is being encouraged to get involved in efforts to eradicate the dangerous Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits vector-borne diseases such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya.
The call has come from Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton as he addressed the launch of Operation: Mosquito Search and Destroy clean-up campaign in Ocho Rios, St Ann, recently, at the Ocean Village Shopping Centre.
"As the country is on high alert for the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases, we have to send a strong message to encourage all our citizens to get involved in protecting our communities from mosquito breeding sites as most of the solutions lie with all of us," Tufton stated.
The operation: Mosquito Search and Destroy clean-up campaign, which started in
St Catherine on February 20, is being spread across all 14 parishes and is aimed at promoting community participation in identifying and destroying mosquito- breeding sites.
On Saturday, the minister, accompanied by personnel from the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Jamaica Defence Force, St Ann Parish Council, National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), Social Development Commission, Red Cross, as well as the health team from the North East Regional Health Authority, visited and participated in clean-up activities held in the Ocho Rios communities of Mansfield and Buckfield, as well as Parry Town in St Ann.
According to the Ministry of Health, the aim of the national campaign is to reduce the Aedes Aegypti population through removal of waste that serve as breeding sites for mosquitoes.
"That is, effectively reducing the population of mosquitoes to a rate that will contain the spread of any disease carried by those vectors. These activities are meant to provide a template and an example for the nation," the ministry explained.
The ministry said there are two components to the operation, the removal of bulk waste, which is being done by NSWMA, and community mobilisation through house-to- house survey, being conducted by the health staff and other key stakeholders, who are also responsible for the distribution of educational material.
The World Health Organi-zation has declared a public health emergency status for Zika virus, and has stated that the best form of prevention is protection from mosquito bites.
Symptoms of the disease can include mild fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pains, malaise or headache.