Caribbean Region ‘Waging Losing Battle’ Against Zika Virus?

Dr Joy St John (at podium), addressing a workshop in St. Kitts

Dr Joy St John (at podium), addressing a workshop in St. Kitts

BASSETERRE, St Kitts — According to Dr Joy St John, director of surveillance, disease prevention and control at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the region has been “waging a losing battle and so the battle strategy needs to change if we are to win the war”.

St John was speaking at the opening of a workshop in St Kitts to develop a regional network on research and control of emerging vector-borne diseases in the Caribbean.

Zika, the latest mosquito borne disease, has been reported in more than 30 countries of the Americas. This disease, along with dengue and chikungunya, continues to threaten the health, tourism, social and economic development of the region.

The workshop, the second of two, reviewed currently available knowledge and experience of national authorities, agencies and academic institutions in the areas of control and research on vector control and integrated vector management (IVM). Participants also sought to identify operational research issues potentially useful for improving vector control.

In her opening remarks, St John said, “The workshop is about how we manage and approach the mosquito. Vector control is the be all and end all.”

She added, “Research into current systems, to discover knowledge gaps and what will lead to better prevention of illness, is part of what we hope will be outcomes of this workshop.”

The workshop ran from May 17 to 20, 2016, and included participants from the Dutch, English, French and Spanish-speaking countries. The workshop was funded by the Special Programme for Research and Training of UNICEF, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the World Health Organisation (WHO),

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