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Ministry of Health prepares for battle with Chikungunya virus

Published:Wednesday | July 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Davion Smith, Glleaner Writer

THE MINISTRY of Health has urged the public to get rid of mosquito breeding sites in a bid to prevent the spread of the chikungunya virus, which has colonised some countries across the Caribbean.

The ministry has been training health professionals to identify the virus and is surveying the country's borders for human carriers.

"We want the public to have a heightened sense of responsibility for preventing mosquito infestation. There is a lot we can do, so we've been ramping up that programme to search and destroy breeding sites," Neville Graham, director of communications at the Ministry of Health, told The Gleaner on Monday.

"Jamaica is susceptible. The fact that we are a major crossroad and we have ease of travel within the region makes us very susceptible." Graham added.

According to The Centers for Disease Control, the symptoms of the chikungunya virus include fever and joint pain, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.

Trinidad and Tobago has become the most recent country to record cases of the virus following 12 confirmed cases in Guyana earlier this month.

"The same vector that carries dengue carries chikungunya, and we want people to search and destroy because they should know that 'dengue can gwaan, too' ... we want to kill two mosquitoes with one stone so to speak," Graham said.

Some breeding sites of mosquitoes include old tires, flower pots, domestic containers, ponds and pools of water.