Minister Lee: Community action needed to help fight Zika virus

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Minister of Health Emil Lee is calling for more proactive community action in preventing mosquito breeding grounds as the country battles the Zika virus. The minister at the Council of Ministers weekly press briefing disclosed that the Health Ministry has been receiving information from the public on potential mosquito breeding grounds around the island.

He spoke of initiatives by the government to aid in more information gathering from the public. “In the war against mosquitos, in our war against the breeding grounds for mosquitos, it’s actually the citizens that take the frontline on this. So we’ve open up a hotline, we’ve also have our website, our email address and also via Facebook.

So the more information you can give us, the more specific it is, the easier it is for the government to react,” Minister Lee said.

Meanwhile, the minister lauded a resident who informed him of a derelict house next to hers that has been unoccupied and may have been foreclosed by the bank that was a potential mosquito breeding ground. Natasha Vanterpool, Minister Lee noted, contacted the minister via Facebook informing him of this house, which had a pool still with water.

When he got to the location, he noted that she had already poured kerosene oil in the pool to prevent the mosquitoes from breeding in the water. Consequently, his discussions with Ms. Vanterpool prompted him to look at an area that was previously overlooked.

“Out of my discussions with Natasha, it became clear to me there is an area that we need to address; properties that are in default…we are in the process of drafting letters right now to lawyers banks, real estate agencies and to notaries that if they are currently managing properties that are not occupied that they should take special attention to make sure that those properties are not becoming mosquito breeding grounds,” the minister said.

Source: 721 news Minister Lee: Community action needed to help fight Zika virus