Ministry considers lab mosquitoes to fight Zik V


April 18, 2016
The Aedes aegypti mosquito.

The Ministry of Health is considering introducing lab mosquitoes in Jamaica to help restrict the Zika virus (ZIKV ) transmission.

The transgenic mosquitoes are capable of restricting the breeding patterns of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, and its ability to transmit ZIKV other vector-borne diseases.

Their introduction is one of two mosquito eradication measures recommended by the Pan-American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO), which has offered to provide technical support to facilitate studies aimed at determining the appropriate interventions for consideration. The other measure includes the introduction of the Wolbachia bacteria.This was disclosed by the Ministry's Director of Health Promotion and Protection, Dr Sonia Copeland, during a public forum at the New Kingston Conference Centre, recently.

At the forum, PAHO's Technical Adviser for Sustainable Development and Environmental Health, Dr Taraleen Malcolm, said the proposal forms part of the organisation's multi-sectoral approach to coordinating vector control and management.


"We have to ensure that information is getting out so people can understand how the Zika virus can impact them and their community, as well as the country," she stated, adding that PAHO has also developed a regional research agenda to address knowledge gaps.

ZIKV is characterised by a rash outbreak, fever, conjunctivitis, joint and muscle pain, headache and weakness. Jamaica is among 34 countries in the Americas with confirmed cases of the virus, of which there have been six such in St Catherine and St Thomas.

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