The Ministry of Health is estimating a budget of about J$200 million in the even of an outbreak of the Zika virus in Jamaica.
Health Minister Horace Dalley on Wednesday announced that $10 million has been allocated to the virology lab at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus. He said the lab, which could be used to test cases of the virus, is in need of urgent repairs.
At a Jamaica House news briefing, Dalley said, while this is largely a community based effort, there are costs attached to paying vector control workers, fogging and public education.
The Health Ministry has also sought to assure the public that there will be adequate supplies of medication to treat symptoms of the Zika virus. Dr Marion Bullock Ducasse, Chief Medical Officer, also speaking at the Jamaica House briefing, said affected persons should take para-cetamol or aceta-mino-phen to treat the signs and symptoms of the virus and these are available free of cost at public health facilities.
However, she stressed that, as is the case with dengue and chikungunya, aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs should not be taken, as they could cause complications.
Zika death - Suriname
Meanwhile, a 75-year-old man has become the fourth casualty of the Zika virus in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member state of Suriname.
Lesly Resida, Director of the Public Health Bureau, said the man died on the weekend at a hospital.
The man had also shown symptoms of other health problems.
Earlier this month, health officials in Suriname said, since October last year, 103 people have tested positive for the Zika virus.
The virus is characterised as a viral disease, transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, that causes fever, muscle and joint pain, headache, nausea and rashes.
It was first reported in Brazil where more than 3,500 cases have been reported since October 2015.