Hanover heightens vector control activities as ZIKV looms

BY ANTHONY LEWIS Observer West writer

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

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LUCEA, Hanover — Local health authorities in Hanover say they are well advanced in their campaign to destroy mosquito-breeding sites in the parish ahead of the expected arrival of the Zika virus.


"We are in high gear as far as Hanover is concerned. The public health department is doing what it has to do," Lucea Mayor Wynter McIntosh said.


"We as the local board of health are doing what we have to do as well to make sure that we minimise any eventuality of the Zika virus, because what is sure is that it is coming," he added.


According to the mayor, the council has received a special allocation of $12 million from the Local Government Ministry to undertake drain-cleaning projects in each of Hanover’s seven parish council divisions.


The Ministry of Health, on the other hand, has allocated $1.5 million to undertake a general vector control programme, which will include drain cleaning and bushing.


Additionally, Mayor McIntosh said, the Members of Parliament for Hanover Eastern and Hanover Western, Dr D.K. Duncan and Ian Hayles respectively, are also undertaking programmes in their constituencies.


In the meantime, the mayor is calling on residents to play their part.


"I implore the residents of the respective communities across Hanover to be diligent... to prevent water from settling, to cover drums where necessary and to do their own preparation," Mayor McIntosh urged.


Meanwhile, the Hanover Health Department has identified over 20 communities across the parish which are most likely to be threatened by the Zika virus.


The Medical Officer of Health in charge of the parish, Dr Marcia Graham, said that apart from the department’s vector control programmes, several sensitisation programmes are being held in communities, town centres, schools, churches, hotels and other places. In schools, the department is having sensitisation sessions with teachers of Health and Family Life Education so as to allow them to incorporate the information into their curriculum.


The Zika virus is spread by the aedes aegypti mosquito, which also acts as a vector for the dengue and chikungunya viruses.


Last week, the Ministry of Health declared that there are seven parishes across the island most likely to be attacked by the Zika virus. They are: Kingston, St Andrew, St Catherine, St Thomas, Clarendon, Manchester and Westmoreland.

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