My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Trinidad PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar's CARICOM Meeting - Preventing Caribbean Chikungunya Virus and Ebola Virus Epidemic by Christmas 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Trinidad PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar's CARICOM Meeting - Preventing Caribbean Chikungunya Virus and Ebola Virus Epidemic by Christmas 2014

“My advice to colleague Heads of Government in the Caribbean is to take pre- emptive measures to ensure the safety, health and well-being of millions of citizens of the Caribbean region. While our risk is low, our actions must further diminish the risks to our citizens. And I am confident that nations across CARICOM will respond favourably,”

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar in a call to CARICOM Leaders to discuss a coordinated response to a possible Ebola Virus and Chikungunya Virus outbreak

Is there a coming Ebola Virus and Chikungunya Virus Epidemic developing in the Caribbean?

That seems to be the question on everybody’s mind ever since Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Kamla Persad-Bissessar called for an extra-ordinary meeting of the CARICOM (Caribbean Community) heads of Government in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

The occasion for this gracious offer? 

CARICOM needs to convene to discuss the threats pose by the Ebola Virus and the Chikungunya Virus and how to coordinate their efforts to curtail their spread so as to avoid a Caribbean wide Pandemic as reported in the article “Trinidad calls for CARICOM meeting on Ebola and Chikungunya threat”, published Tuesday, August 19, 2014 9:17 PM, The Jamaica Observer.

Reason for pressing the Panic Button is quite obvious.

The WHO (World Health Organization) must have alerted them of the possibility that African National from the four (4) infected African countries were recorded to having visited the Caribbean, suggesting that the Ebola Virus might already be in the Caribbean. Those Four (4) African nations are as follows:

1.      Guinea
2.      Liberia
3.      Sierra Leone
4.      Nigeria

Trinidad and Tobago, who are supposed to have a more modern Health Care System when compared to Jamaica, have a full blown epidemic on their hands with 80 infected in Trinidad and Tobago as of Friday August 15th 2014, according to Trinidad Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan as stated in the article “As many as 80 infected with Chikungunya -- TT health minister”, published Friday, August 15, 2014 7:32 AM, The Jamaica Observer. So clearly an Ebola Epidemic as advised by the WHO is coming and is very possible and when it arrives in the Caribbean, its effects would be devastating.

On that very same day, Friday August 15th 2014, Jamaica just hit 10 infected, 2 via importation and 8 via local transmission, with Ground Zero appearing to be the University of the West Indies. This courtesy of the Caribbean Nationals coming back to Jamaica carrying the Chikungunya Virus and our poor vector control programs for the Aedes Aegypti Mosquito islandwide as I'd pointed out in my blog article entitled “10 Cases of Chikungunya Virus in Jamaica – How a Hurricane coming December 2014 will accelerate its spread”.

Ministry of Health’s on Ebola – Silence of the Lambs as they don’t want to spook the Natives

The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health are aware of this possible spread from the UWI as Ground Zero. Hence they've begun issuing guidelines to the High Schools as to what to do to limit the spread of the Chikungunya Virus as reported in my blog article entitled “Education and Health Ministries Meet before 2014-15 Academic Year - How to Stop Chikungunya Virus spread by Aedes aegypti Mosquito among Children”.

Oddly enough, and possibly out of blind optimism, nothing is being mentioned in the Media about a possible Ebola Outbreak as I'd pointed out in my blog article entitled “Ministry of Health confirms four persons with Chikungunya Virus – Chic-V Just Turn Up in the Hurricane Season as Ebola Virus is coming”.

Despite what the Ministry of Health may be saying, the risk of Ebola in Jamaica is very real, as we do have a lot of African Nationals Travelling to Jamaica and they may have already carried the virus to our shores as argue in my blog article entitled “Jamaica's Ebola Risk - How a ZMapp cured Americans of Ebola as Jamaica can become Guinea Pig to Test an Ebola Cure”.

We're not even aware of it because no Health advisory has been issue to the public by the Ministry of Health as to what are the Symptoms of Ebola. Except for Traditional Media reports on the infected African countries and my blog article above announcing the use of an experimental cure on a pair of American Missionaries, there has been no Ebola Public Awareness Campaign.

Back to School Again - Chikungunya Virus set to be Trending among High School and College Students

So we have the makings of an Epidemic from Chikungunya Virus and possibly from the Ebola Virus by December 2014, with a possibly spread to the country side once everyone starts traveling back and forth within the vicinity of the UWI, August Town and Papine.

Throw in those persons travelling back and forth from Caribbean nations that have known Chikungunya Virus spread as well as those Haitian Nationals landing in Jamaica and it stands to reason it may spread beyond the four (4) parishes that have reported infections:

1.      Kingston and St. Andrew
2.      St. Thomas
3.      St. Catherine
4.      St. Ann

This rapid spread accelerated by High School Students travelling about within Kingston and St. Andrew as well as UWI Students from the Rural areas travelling back home carrying the virus into the Rural Areas is a situation I've predicted in my blog article entitled “Education and Health Ministries Meet before 2014-15 Academic Year - How to Stop Chikungunya Virus spread by Aedes aegypti Mosquito among Children”.

So many Jamaicans have begun stocking up on DEET and Citronella Oil and are gearing up their kids in fear and Trepidation for the start of school come Monday September 1st 2014. By that same token, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Kamla Persad-Bissessar is apparently reaching out to her CARICOM Neighbors with the aim to stop this trading of diseases. The logic is clear: coordinate to stop the disease spread across the Caribbean otherwise once under control in cone country, it'll flare up again propelled by the Travel of Caribbean Nationals.

To make it worse, with so many African nationals coming from the countries infected by Ebola, there needs to be coordinated surveillance to prevent an Ebola Epidemic, as the accelerated spread caused by simple inter-island Travel suggests that if the Ebola Virus were to come to the Caribbean it would spread just as fast - with deadlier results! Already travel advisories have been issued by Canada as stated in “Canada issues Chikungunya warning to travellers”, published Monday, August 18, 2014 9:48 AM, The Jamaica Observer, advising its nationals from travelling to the Caribbean due to the spread of Chikungunya Virus.

CARICOM’s Best Response – Medical Field Tents at Airports, Vector Control and Free DEET

Imagine the panic is Ebola Virus were to spread at the same rate as the Chikungunya Virus!

CARICOM, please meet as soon as possible. More extreme measures, such as setting up Field Hospitals at every Caribbean Airport and other ports of Entry with on-the-spot Doctors doing on-spot Blood Tests will be need.

The immediate isolation of travelers coming from any of those infected countries should be immediately implemented. They should be briefed and immediately tested. If they test positive for either Chikungunya Virus or Ebola Virus, they should be isolated and placed in quarantine in areas that are sealed from Aedes Aegypti Mosquito for treatment.

These measures may sound extreme but are necessary to prevent a Caribbean-wide Pandemic as this illness spread is moving at the speed of Global Air and Sea Travel that connects using our increasingly globalized World. That should stop the Ebola Virus from coming to Jamaica.

Within each country, increased use of Malathion Spraying and Vector Control for the Aedes Aegypti Mosquito will be needed. Finally, boost the sales of DEET and Citronella Oil as well as Mosquito Nets via the removal of Custom Duty as well as Government subsidies. This would make it affordable to the very poor and elderly and the very young.

Truth be told, they’re the most vulnerable from the Chikungunya Virus and the first to die should Ebola Virus reach the Caribbean!

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