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Westmoreland ready to battle Zika

Published:Wednesday | August 31, 2016 | 12:00 AMOkoye Henry
Dr Kaushal Singh from the Westmoreland Health Department during his Zika PowerPoint presentation on Tuesday.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the Zika virus.

Western Bureau-

The Westmoreland Health Department has stepped up its state of readiness to tackle the Zika virus (ZIKV) with the creation of a response unit to be boosted by 45 additional workers, who are now in training and who are to be certified shortly.

The announcement was made at Tuesday night's Zika alert town hall meeting at Mannings School in Savanna-la-Mar by Ryan Morris, the head of vector control in Westmoreland. According to Morris, the additional workers are expected to play a crucial role in the ongoing Zika alert initiative.

"We have them out in the field doing identification and destruction of breeding sites as well as bringing health education to persons," said Morris, who noted that there were 24 other personnel in the field with the new recruits. "Health education is our approach, so we are going out there to implore the citizenry to do personal inspections at least once per week to identify and destroy breeding sites."




Morris noted that while the parish did not have a significant number of confirmed cases of ZIKV, it is important to spread awareness in the fight against the breeding of the aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the virus.

"We need to work together because the environment is changing and getting warmer," said health department official Dr Kaushal Singh, who sought to explain that mosquitoes tend to thrive in the current conditions.

Singh also called on the communities and the private and public sectors to join the Government in its mosquitoeradication programme.

Abigail Whitaker-Clarke, the acting parish manager of the Westmoreland Public Health Services, also echoed similar sentiments, noting that while the health department had been doing its best to ensure the reduction of the mosquito population, it required additional assistance.

"We have hard-working persons in the ministry working together to ensure that the lives of our community members are treated as best as possible," said Whitaker-Clarke in seeking to further emphasise the parish's readiness to battle Zika.