The Zika virus disease (“Zika”) is a mosquito-borne illness that is transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes. According to the World Health Organization, people with Zika can have symptoms including mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. These symptoms normally last for up to a week. There is also scientific consensus that Zika is a cause of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome and links to other neurological complications are also being investigated. Sexual transmission of Zika has also been documented.
The Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Health is reminding the public that Regulation 27 of the Public Health (Yellow Fever Regulations) 1979, made pursuant to Section 105(1) of the Public Health Ordinance, Chapter 12 No. 4 has been amended, to increase the fine for unkempt properties or any harborage that may become a mosquito breeding ground from $500.00 to $3,500.00.
Public Health Inspectors from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government have been mandated to carry out inspections and execute fines against delinquent property owners.
To avoid being fined, citizens should make a concerted effort to prevent breeding of the mosquito in the following ways:
- Dispose of all unwanted articles, derelict vehicles, or appliances in the yard or environs which can collect water and become mosquito breeding grounds.
- Cover water containers such as tanks, barrels, drums or buckets with a mosquito-proof covering.
- Cut down and remove all bush or undergrowth liable to harbor mosquitoes.
- Ensure that drains and roof gutters allow the free flow of water.
- Empty and scrub the sides of water vases or use dirt or sand instead to support flowers.
Notwithstanding the fine imposed by the amendment to the regulations, all citizens are encouraged to behave in a responsible manner and take all necessary precautions to prevent breeding of Aedes aegypti and stop the transmission of mosquito-borne illnesses, like Zika, dengue fever and chikungunya.
The Pan American Health Organization has issued further guidelines to avoid the spread of Zika in the region.
Persons who wish to report a property that they believe is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, may contact their local County Medical Office.