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Opposition wants more money for mosquito eradication programme

Published:Monday | May 5, 2014 | 11:38 AM

The Opposition Spokesman on Health, Dr Ken Baugh, says the Government must move urgently to allocate more money for the mosquito control programme to reduce the risk of an outbreak of the Chikungunya virus in Jamaica.



The Chikungunya virus, which is spread by the aedes aegypti mosquito, has been reported in other Caribbean countries like St Lucia and Haiti.



Baugh says despite the fiscal constraints, the Government has to do all it can to protect the people.



According to him, the rapid spread of the virus across the Caribbean increases the risk of Jamaica being affected.



Baugh says the Ministry of Health should have embarked on a mass public education campaign long ago.



Baugh says given the seriousness of the Chikungunya virus, a special programme must be developed to train Jamaicans on how to protect themselves.



In an advisory yesterday, the Health Ministry said although there have been no reports of the virus in Jamaica, health authorities have been taking the necessary precautions.



Director of Emergency in the Ministry Dr Marion Bullock DuCasse, said staff are being trained and sensitised; while the ministry’s surveillance system as well as the vector control programme continue to be strengthened.



The ministry also said it has developed a communication strategy.



Symptoms of Chikungunya virus include high fever, headache, muscle pain, joint pain mainly in the limbs and large joints and a rash.



Infants and the elderly are at greater risk for more severe disease.



People suffering from diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases are also at severe risk.



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