My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Dr. Taylor links Climate Change to increase in Diseases in Jamaica - Dengue, Pink Eye and Zika Virus coming and Asthma rising

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Dr. Taylor links Climate Change to increase in Diseases in Jamaica - Dengue, Pink Eye and Zika Virus coming and Asthma rising

“We are seeing both direct and indirect linkages, and so it's critical that we bear these things in mind because it is no longer a case where we feel hot or cold, but it's the link with the quality-of-life factors, such as water or energy”

Head of the climate studies group at the University of the West Indies Professor Michael Taylor making the link between Climate Change and increasing incidence of disease

Looks like Jamaica is on the cusp of a full-fledged outbreak of disease related to the lack of water.

So says Head of the climate studies group at the University of the West Indies Professor Michael Taylor, who is already making the link between Climate Change, Jamaica's Drought conditions and increase in diseases as noted in the article “Be Wary Of Disease Outbreak ... Expert Warns That Climate Change Can Impact Health”, published Monday October 12, 2015 by Jodi-Ann Gilpin, The Jamaica Gleaner.

He pointed out that the lack of water means that disease related to the lack of sanitation will spread, quote: “There are others that are more indirect but which are clearly obvious, for example, when there is a drought and there is insufficient water for sanitization and adequate washing of hands. That would contribute to something like a hand, foot and mouth (disease). Sanitization is a key factor in preventing those kinds of diseases”.

Already we're experiencing an outbreak of Hand, foot and mouth disease among school children due to a lack of water for sanitation as reported in my blog article entitled “313 Cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease in Jamaican Schools - Why the Coxsackie Virus thrives in a Drought”.

Reports are now surfacing of the possibility of an outbreak in Conjunctivitis i.e. Pink Eye as reported in the article “Pink Eye outbreak looming?”, published October 125t 2015 , Loop Jamaica.

This again is a condition due to a lack of sanitation, as children and adults, not washing their hands, resort to rubbing their eyes and thus spread the bacteria that live on hands, causing the eyes to react by turning red in colour.

Climate Change means more Rainfall - Increased possibility of Mosquito Borne Diseases

We're also ripe for the diseases such as Dengue Virus to quote Professor Taylor: “There are strong links between climate variability and health or disease patterns. There are some obvious ones such as dengue, where one is able to see that direct link with mosquitoes”.

Albeit no hurricanes have made landfall, the recent heavy rains have created the conditions for dormant Aedes Aegypti mosquito larvae to hatch, becoming vectors for these diseases.

A resurgence of the Chikungunya Virus and the Zika Virus coming to Jamaica is possible as I’d predicted in my blog article entitled “Town Hall Meetings for Zika Virus - How Hurricane Danny mean Mosquitoes ready to spread the Virus”.

Already reports are surfacing that implies the Zika Virus may already be in Jamaica, but t due to its mild symptoms and similarity to the Chikungunya Virus, it hasn't been confirmed by the Ministry of Health.

However, the Minister of Health Dr. Fenton Ferguson insists that this is not the case as test have not confirmed that the Zika Virus is in Jamaica as reported in the article “No Zika Virus in Jamaica”, published October 3, 2015 By Garfield Angus, The Jamaica Information Service.

Still the MOH is taking no chances.

Ministry of Health and Mosquitoes – Fogging Schedule set till end of October 2015

Fogging with Malathion Spray has begun to advise Jamaicans to tell them where to fog and to take the usual precautions, like closing their door and wear mosquito repellants as noted in the article “Health Ministry To Take On Massive Mosquito Problem”, published Thursday October 15, 2015 by Edmond Campbell, The Jamaica Gleaner.

The schedule for Fogging of Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Catherine from Wednesday October 14th 2015 to Saturday October 31st 2015 as reported in the article “Mosquito Fogging Schedule For Kingston And St Andrew, St Catherine And St Thomas”, published Wednesday October 14, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner is as follows:

Wednesday Oct 14
Harbour View
Pembroke Hall, Tree Oaks, Glendale

Thursday Oct 15
Harbour Heights
Majestic Garden, Union Gardens

Friday Oct 16
Three View, Calabar Mews
Constant Spring Gardens

Saturday Oct 17
Red Hills

Monday Oct 19
Public Holiday

Tuesday Oct 20
Greenwich Town

Wednesday Oct 21
Duncaster, Bellevue Hospital
Water House

Thursday Oct 22
Manley Meadows, Rae Town
Hughenden, Marverly

Friday Oct 23
No Fogging

Saturday Oct 24
Stony Hill
Golden Spring

Monday Oct 26

Ferry, New Haven
Riverton City, Calaloo Mews

Tuesday Oct 27
Tucker Ave, Nannyville Gd
Mountain View
Cooreville Gdns, Washington Gdns

Wednesday Oct 28
Rollington Town, Franklin Town
Drewsland, State Gdns, Zaidie Gardens

Thursday Oct 29
Vineyard Town
Queensborough, Queensbury, Meadowbrook Estates

Friday Oct 30
Valentine Gdns, Arlene Gardens, Roehampton
Havendale Meadowbrook

Saturday Oct 31
Red Hill

Still, these mosquitoes seem a lot larger and more aggressive than usual, often chasing you down and seeming unafraid of being swatted!

Is it me or do the mosquitoes seem a lot bigger than normal? I'll be buying a bottle of DEET soon and wearing longer sleeved clothing!

Decreased Air Quality, Oxygen Levels due to Drought - Asthma and Bronchitis cases may increase

The dryer conditions also means diseases related to allergies abound to quote Dr. Taylor:  “When we look at asthma and the dry season, or even when there is a change the weather patterns, we are seeing the linkages. This is compounded by the fact that these activities are not necessarily predictable anymore, so we have to be extra cautious”.

Conditions such as Bronchitis and asthma, which I suffer from as described in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How to use Alternative Treatments for Asthma and Bronchitis” may be on the rise.

They are being given new life by the dryer conditions that make pollen, dust and other allergens stay aloft in the air longer combined with the reduced number of trees in Jamaica.

This is especially true in urban areas, were many Jamaicans are experiencing a decrease in air quality, oxygen concentrations resulting in an increase in respiratory ailments as argued in my blog article entitled “Jamaican Drought, Trees and Air Quality - Why Jamaican Apartment dwellers are developing Respiratory Ailments”.

He urged precautions be implemented to slow down the effects of Climate Change in the long term. These recommendations, such as planting more trees in urban areas, increased air quality monitoring and wastewater recycling as suggested in my blog article entitled “Water Wastage at MICO - How Waste Water Recycling and Rainwater Harvesting benefits Agriculture” are long overdue as the days are getting warmer

Christmas may be coming. 

But with Climate Change causing sanitation relate diseases, mosquitoes biting me as I type and possibly spreading disease, and the drought makes my Bronchitis return, I expect many to be ill this Christmas, which is only seventy one (71) days away!

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