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Ministry of Health


May 18, 2015

Jamaicans Urged to Destroy Mosquito Breeding Sites Amidst Zika virus Outbreak in Brazil


Following meetings at the World Health Assembly now taking place in Geneva, Switzerland and subsequent to a warning issued by the Pan American Health Organization regarding an outbreak of the Zika virus in Brazil and the potential of the virus to spread to other countries, Permanent Secretary, Dr. Kevin Harvey is urging persons to take the necessary precautions to rid their surroundings of any place mosquitoes could breed.

Dr. Harvey is currently attending the WHA along with Minister of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, Acting Director, Emergency, Disaster Management and Special Services, Dr. Melody Ennis and Senior Medical Officer at the May Pen Hospital, Dr. Bradley Edwards.

“The Aedes aegypti mosquito which spreads the Zika virus is generally found in and around places where people inhabit. Persons are urged to search for and destroy mosquito breeding sites by getting rid of old tyres and containers in which water can settle, punching holes in tins before disposing, and covering large drums, barrels and tanks holding water, “ he explained.

The Zika virus is from the same family as and is similar to dengue with symptoms which include fever, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis, headache, weakness, rash and swelling of the lower limbs. After the bite of an infected mosquito, symptoms usually appear following the incubation period of 3 – 12 days. The symptoms last for 4 – 7 days. No deaths due to the Zika virus have been recorded worldwide to date.


The Zika virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito – the same mosquito that transmits chikungunya and dengue. Brazil confirmed its first cases of the Zika virus in May this year.

“The Ministry of Health is taking this potential threat very seriously. I urge Jamaicans to do their part to prevent mosquito breeding and so help to reduce any possibility of the introduction of the Zika virus into the island. There is no specific vaccine or treatment for the virus and so personal responsibility is key,” he said.

The Zika Virus was first isolated in 1947 in a Rhesus monkey in the Zika Forest, Uganda. It was first isolated in humans in 1952 in Uganda and Tanzania. Outbreaks have been seen since then in countries including the island of Yap (2007), French Polynesia (2013) and Brazil (2015).




Stephanie Shaw Smith/Sharon Jones

Public Relations & Communication Unit

Cellular: 317-8885/537-0516






New Publication on Blood Transfusion Launched


The Ministry of Health through the National Blood Transfusion Service, NBTS, is pleased to announce that it will launch a publication on best practice in transfusion medicine titled Transfusion Basic Guidelines, Principles and Practice 2011 on September 13 at 10 am at the head office of the Ministry of Health, 2-4 Kings Street, Kingston.


This publication has been developed to provide guidance in the practice of transfusion medicine in accordance with Good Clinical Practice. It is in keeping with the World Health Organization integrated strategy to promote blood safety while lessening the risks associated with transfusion.


The guidelines are expected to achieve the following objectives:

·      Improve the consistency and appropriateness of transfusion practice in Jamaica

·      Promote the integration of quality management systems into transfusion practice

·      Minimize transfusion-related complications

·      Increase consumer awareness of the benefits and risks of blood component therapy and

·      Conserve on blood, a limited resource.


This is a manual for easy quick reference which is useful for most categories of healthcare providers. It does not substitute for textbooks but offers guiding principles for those who intend to treat using blood or blood components. The introduction of the publication is expected to result in better outcome in patient care and greater efficiency in blood and blood component use arising from the implementation of improved and appropriate clinical use of blood.

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Sharing the Gift of Life

The Gift of Life


Like most persons, I was afraid of injection needles and the sight of blood when growing up as a child and into early adulthood  The thought of becoming a blood donor was, therefore, the farthest thing from my mind as I entered into adulthood 


Approximately forty years ago while I was a student at the United Theological College of the West ... read more

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The National Blood Transfusion Service
21 Slipe Pen Road
Kingston, Jamaica
Tel: (876) 922 - 5181-5
Fax: (876) 967 - 0169