CPS says to prevent malaria,take measures to prevent mosquito breeding;35 Cases of Dengue Reported

Health officials last week in Jamaica was in a frenzy after the discovery of a Jamaican who was diagnosed with the highly contagious disease malaria, after a visit to a country on the African continent.

Jamaica’s health authorities immediately moved to identify all persons with whom the patient might have come in contact in order to administer the necessary treatment to prevent an outbreak of the disease.

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by the parasite Plasmodium, which is transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitoes. In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver and then infect red blood cells.

The number of malaria cases in the Americas declined by nearly 60 percent and malaria deaths declined by 70 per cent over the past decade, according to the 2012 World Malaria Report, published by the World Health Organization (WHO).

In 2000, more than one million cases of malaria were reported in the Americas, and by 2011, the number had dropped to below 490,000.

The Caribbean is currently monitoring the number of dengue cases and planning on methods to manage the introduction of Chikungunya which are also vector borne diseases.

In considering the circulating information in the region and the reported number of dengue cases, the Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a government agency under the Ministry of Public Health, is calling on the community to implement mosquito preventive measures in order to prevent vector borne diseases. Measures should be taken in and around the workplace, social gatherings and living quarters to eliminate mosquito breeding sources.

Last year the country diagnosed 35 cases of dengue fever compared to 22 in 2011, and according to CPS, this signals a potential risk if the mosquito population grows it is necessary for the community to continue to take measures on the elimination of mosquito breeding sources throughout the year. Let us be proactive and not wait until the numbers increase to take action.

Minister of Public Health Hon. Cornelius de Weever, ‘Get Checked" campaign, is in line with CPS’s appeal for residents and business owners, to check in and around their homes and businesses in order to reduce breeding of the Ades Aegypti mosquito, which has the potential to transmit diseases such as dengue and chikungunya fever.

Look for debris and old tires in yards that can accumulate stagnant water, which can become a breeding ground/source for mosquitoes bringing about an increased risk of mosquito-borne diseases.

An increase in the mosquito population puts residents at risk. In the case of where containers are used for storing water, residents should keep these covered. Inlets and outlets of cisterns must be covered with a mosquito net or cloth to prevent mosquito breeding.

CPS is therefore advising residents to take continuous measures after rain events to make sure there is no clear/clean stagnant water in their yards; disposing of responsibly old tires, empty drums, plant containers, paint cans and other items that can collect water around their homes and businesses.