Health ministry gives malaria update on vessel from Nicaragua

Friday, November 09, 2018

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THE Ministry of Health says it is monitoring the situation after a vessel from Nicaragua was intercepted in Jamaican waters with several people on board, three of whom were diagnosed with malaria.

In a release yesterday, the ministry said it will, through the Kingston and St Andrew Health Department, continue to monitor the situation and take the necessary action to protect the public.

The ministry said the Jamaica Coast Guard on Tuesday notified it, through the Port Health Team, of the vessel being in Jamaican waters.

“On arrival at the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard headquarters, there were 93 males on board the vessel. They gave a history of having been at sea for four days.

“The Kingston and St Andrew Health Department executed the standard operating procedures for clinical/public health assessment and interventions,” the release said yesterday.

After initial assessment, the ministry said two people were diagnosed with malaria. A third was diagnosed on a subsequent assessment. These three people were isolated and treated at the Kingston Public Hospital, the release said.

According to the ministry, vector control activities, including disinfection of the vessel, was conducted and are ongoing as per standard operating procedures.

“Of note, no Anopheles mosquito (the mosquito vector that transmits malaria) breeding sites were found in any of the locations the members of the crew accessed,” the ministry said.

According to the release, Jamaica was returned to the malaria-free list in 2012 after an outbreak in 2006.

“The last local case of malaria was in 2009. Since then we have continued to see cases of imported malaria each year. Jamaica has been able to maintain its malaria-free status through surveillance, early detection, and rapid isolation and treatment of all cases.

“We encourage the public to play their part in keeping Jamaica malaria-free by reporting to public health officials any unofficial entry of foreigners. The members of the public should ensure that they protect themselves before visiting countries that have ongoing malaria transmission,” the release said.

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