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Tufton warns west not to be complacent with ZIKV

Published:Tuesday | June 21, 2016 | 12:57 PMOkoye Henry

Western Bureau:

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has warned the public-health sector in western Jamaica not to get complacent because there has only been a few suspected cases of the Zika virus reported in the region

In fact, the minister is instead urging the public-health officers to use the chance to prepare themselves to combat the risks of the communicable virus spreading once it eventually gets to the west.

Tufton, who sounded the warning while on a recent tour of the Noel Holmes Hospital in Lucea, Hanover, said that, based on the findings of experts, the virus is now peaking and, as a consequence, there should be an increase in the number of cases over the next few months.

"The nature of the virus is that it moves from one place to the next until there is almost complete coverage, but you (western Jamaica) have sufficient time to take appropriate action to minimise the risks that you will encounter," said Tufton.


In addition, Tufton also advised the general public to be responsible in their actions and take the requisite steps to eliminate mosquito-breeding sites.

"The extent of its impact is going to be a function of whether we inform people as much as possible in anticipation of the challenges they will face," said Tufton. "... get them to take proactive action to prevent or minimise breeding sites, and in terms of curative measures, prepare the health-care facilities so if and when persons are affected then the hospital system is able to deal with those cases."

The Government last week announced that it would be launching an islandwide programme this week as part of an initiative to further educate Jamaicans on the ills of the virus as well as the necessary preventive steps.

Next week Tuesday evening, the health ministry will host the first training workshop with the southern region at the Mandeville Hotel in Manchester, targeting doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. The objective of the training sessions is to update the health team on the current global situation on ZIKV, as well as provide guidance about the Government's phase two action plan in the management of the disease.