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Destroy mosquito-breeding sites, minister urges

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

MINISTER of Health Dr Christopher Tufton is imploring citizens to be vigilant in seeking out and destroying mosquito-breeding sites in and around their homes.

“Citizens must recognise that they have an important responsibility as it relates to monitoring their environment. We are appealing to them to play their part as we seek to quickly contain and overcome this period,” the minister said.

Dr Tufton was speaking to the press after touring the Aldyar community in Westmoreland last Friday, to identify mosquito-breeding sites.

He also informed that the Aedes aegypti mosquito is endemic to Jamaica, and, as such, he is encouraging residents to look in places that may seem unlikely breeding sites, such as discarded milk tins and vases, as even a small amount of water can be a fertile breeding ground for the mosquito.

“It is very unlikely that we are going to totally eliminate the Aedes aegypti mosquito, because it has fertile breeding grounds on an ongoing basis. So, every year, we have to confront this issue and we have to put some structures in place to manage and control them,” Dr Tufton said.

The minister pointed out that frequent rainfall is a contributing factor to the increase in breeding sites, and it is anticipated that the island will regain some sense of normalcy by March of this year, when there should be less rainfall.

Meanwhile, Dr Tufton thanked the Westmoreland Health Department, particularly members of the vector control unit, for their continued efforts in destroying mosquito-breeding sites in the parish and educating residents to do likewise.

During the tour, Dr Tufton assured the vector control unit that they will be getting additional workers through the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme and Ministry of Health's Vector Support Programme, as well as additional motor vehicles, to strengthen the drive to eliminate mosquito-breeding sites.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for the spread of the dengue, Zika and chikungunya viruses.

Symptoms of dengue include sudden onset of high fever with a severe headache, fatigue, pain behind the eyes, muscle, bone or joint pain, skin rash, and vomiting or feeling nauseous.