Health ministry urges Jamaicans to be vigilant, Zika virus detected in region
The Health ministry is urging Jamaicans to be more vigilant in cleaning up their environment and destroying mosquito breeding sites following the detection of the zika virus in the Caribbean.
The Caribbean Public Health Agency made the announcement of the detection of a case in the region yesterday.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Marion Bullock DuCasse says the Ministry of Health is continuing its preparedness activities for the possible introduction of the zika virus in Jamaica.
She says the Regional Health Authorities have increased the frequency of fogging in several areas and will continue to pay close attention to high risk communities.
However, Dr Bullock DuCasse points out that fogging is a temporary solution and cannot by itself solve the problem of mosquito breeding.
The Chief Medical Officer is calling for Jamaicans to destroy mosquito breeding sites by looking for anything around the home, school, churches and business places that may collect water and either cover it, keep it dry or dispose of it.
She says persons should also repair leaking pipes and outdoor faucets, cut grass short and trim shrubbery, clear roof gutters and eaves to prevent water from settling and fill in and drain any places where there are usually puddles when it rains.
Dr Marion Bullock DuCasse. - File Photo
Dr Bullock Ducasse also says persons should protect themselves from mosquito bites by using insect repellent containing DEET, putting mesh on windows and doors and wearing long sleeved clothing where possible.
The zika virus is spread via the Aedes aegypti mosquito which is also the vector for chikungunya and dengue.
The symptoms of zika virus include fever, muscle and joint pain, headache, nausea, eyeball pain, inflammation of the eye, vomiting, diarrhoea or abdominal pain, weakness, swelling of the lower limbs and rash consisting of small bumps.
Symptoms last approximately four to seven days.
The virus has previously been reported in Brazil, Colombia and suspected in the Dominican Republic.
The Pan American Health Organization has indicated that it has been confirmed in Suriname.
The zika virus has not been detected in Jamaica to date.