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Jamaica on ZIKV alert, Health Minister urges citizens not to take virus lightly as it spreads across region

Published:Thursday | December 3, 2015 | 12:00 AMAnastasia Cunningham, News Coordinator
Horace Dalley

The Zika virus (ZIKV) continues to spread across the Caribbean region.

As of December 1 nine countries have reported cases of the mosquito borne disease.

Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Suriname, and Venezuela are all reporting cases of ZIKV.

Jamaica's minister of health Horace Dalley is putting the country on alert to the possible introduction of the virus and urging Jamaicans not to take it lightly.

Speaking at an all day zika virus training and preparation seminar today at the Knutsford Court hotel in St Andrew for health officials from across the island, Dalley said his ministry will do what is necessary to ensure that Jamaica does not have a repeat of the chikungunya outbreak that rocked Jamaica just last year.

Based on the spread of the Zika virus across the region, he said it was quite likely Jamaica will be affected, hence the preparation process was necessary and all Jamaica was urged to get rid of mosquito breeding sites.

The Zika virus is spread by the aedes aegypti mosquito, which is endemic to Jamaica.

The same vector that spreads chikungunya and dengue.

Considered a deadly disease, so far, there have been three reported deaths associated with the Zika virus infection.