Health Minister, Horace Dalley is calling on Jamaicans to take the necessary steps to protect themselves from the Zika virus, amid a heightened response by authorities to the threat posed to the country by mosquito borne diseases.

There have been reports of a possible link between the Zika virus infection to an abnormal growth of the brain and stunting of the growth of the head of a foetus, arising from infection in the first months of pregnancy.

Minister Dalley is calling on communities, church and school administrators, businesses and householders to search for and destroy mosquito breeding sites.

Minister Dalley says it’s important that persons are proactive.

Persons should also protect themselves from mosquito bites by using insect repellent containing DEET, putting mesh on windows and doors and wearing long sleeved clothing where possible.

The Health Ministry will be hosting training sessions for over a thousand youth workers who will undertake community interventions across the island including education about the Zika virus.

There will be a meeting with the Ministry of Local Government and the Parish Councils for them to assist with coordinating Zika response activities.

The Ministry has also started and will intensify its public education campaign around Zika.