Be alert to new, re-emerging vector-borne diseases

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April 12, 2016

Health Minister Christopher Tufton, is encouraged persons to remain alert and prepared for what he described as the inevitable onset of other new and re-emerging vector-borne diseases.

His statement came against the background of the chikungunya outbreak in Jamaica in 2014 and the re-emergence of dengue fever.

"We can't stop these things from happening because we are an open society, people travel, so we are always going to be exposed. But it is how we conduct ourselves that is going to bring us the best form of protection," the minister said.

Tufton was speaking at the launch of the third leg of the health ministry's 'Operation: Mosquito Search and Destroy' clean-up campaign at the Mandeville Town Centre in Manchester on Saturday.

Tufton emphasised the need for persons to properly secure containers used to store water for domestic and other purposes.

He said this was important in order to prevent the breeding of the Aedes aegypti mosquito which transmits Zika, chikungunya, and dengue.

Tufton said inspections conducted by the Ministry in various communities, since last year, revealed that 75 per cent of mosquito-breeding sites found were located in water-storage containers.

"If we want to get rid of the problem, then, as citizens, we must make sure that those containers are (secured) in a particular way - whether covered or whatever way - to protect us against the breeding sites, because if there is no mosquito, then there is no risk of us contracting the (viruses) which the Aedes aegypti carries," he stated.