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Health Ministry Ramps Up Zika control activity

  • Written by wiredja News
  • Published in Health
Featured Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton (2nd left), addresses a press conference at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on Friday (March 18) to provide an update on the national Zika response. Others (from left) are: Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Winston De La Haye; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Kevin Harvey; and PAHO/WHO Representative for Jamaica, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, Dr. Noreen Jack. Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton (2nd left), addresses a press conference at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on Friday (March 18) to provide an update on the national Zika response. Others (from left) are: Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Winston De La Haye; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Kevin Harvey; and PAHO/WHO Representative for Jamaica, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, Dr. Noreen Jack.
KINGSTON, March 20, 2016- The Ministry of Health is conducting vector control and fever surveillance activities in three communities in which three new cases of the Zika Virus have been detected. The areas are Greater Portmore and Christian Meadows in St. Catherine, and Lyssons in St. Thomas.

Health Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton,told a press conference over the weekend that the public health team is undertaking fever monitoring and contact investigation in the affected communities, as well as public education.

This is similar to activities carried out when the first Zika case was identified earlier this year in Portmore, which saw the public health officers visiting approximately 4,000 homes.

“We have also commenced a fogging blitz in the affected communities. This means that fogging will take place in the communities for three consecutive nights per week for three weeks to eradicate adult Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which spread the Zika, dengue and chikungunya viruses,” Dr. Tufton said.

He further noted that the Ministry will continue to actively investigate to detect any additional cases that might be present in the communities or other areas of the country.

In addition, the Ministry will be ramping up its national clean-up programme ‘Operation: Mosquito Search and Destroy,’ which is aimed at destroying mosquito breeding sites.

Dr. Tufton said the Ministry’s National Emergency Operations Centre will continue to coordinate the national Zika response.

“The island-wide enhanced surveillance system is in place to monitor all fever and rash cases, neurological syndromes and congenital malformations and any other presentations consistent with Zika,” he pointed out.

Two of the new Zika cases were confirmed by tests carried out at the recently upgraded University Hospital of the West Indies’ (UHWI) Virology Lab. The other was from a sample that was sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency in Trinidad and Tobago.

The number of confirmed cases of Zika in Jamaica now stands at four.