RIPLEY COUNTY – State health officials said Thursday they have confirmed the first signs of West Nile virus activity in Ripley County this season.So far this year, 83 mosquitoes in 34 Indiana counties have tested positive for the virus. There have been two reported cases of West Nile virus in humans statewide, in Hancock and Porter counties.West Nile virus has been found throughout the entire state in past years, and positive mosquitoes are expected to be found in many other Indiana counties as the summer progresses. It is impossible to predict the severity of this year’s West Nile virus season as future temperatures and rainfall determine the level of mosquito populations.“It’s the time of year when we are at greater risk for West Nile virus infection,” said Ripley County Health Department Administrator /Public Health Nurse, Vicky Powell, R.N.. “But there are many ways people can help protect themselves and their families. You can prevent West Nile virus infection by following some simple and effective steps to prevent mosquito bites.”Ripley County Health Department recommends citizens to take the following protective steps:If possible, avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times, especially late afternoon and dusk to dawn and early morning;Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothes and exposed skin;Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home; and,When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants while outside.Most people who are infected with West Nile virus will not develop any symptoms. Of those who become ill, most will develop a milder form of the illness, which can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands or a rash. However, a small number of people can develop a more severe form of the disease with encephalitis or meningitis and other neurological syndromes, including flaccid muscle paralysis. Some people may die from the infection. Health officials say that although individuals over age 50 are at greatest risk for serious illness and even death from West Nile virus, people of all ages have been infected with the virus and have had severe disease.West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that have first bitten an infected bird. A person bitten by an infected mosquito may show symptoms three to 15 days after the bite. West Nile virus is not transmitted from person to person.“Mosquitoes can spread several other diseases, including St. Louis Encephalitis and La Crosse Encephalitis,” said Administrator/Public Health Nurse, Vicky Powell, R.N.. “Usually, mosquito transmitted diseases occur during the summer months and don’t show signs of waning until the first hard frost of the season.”Ripley County Health Department is also asking residents to take steps to rid their properties of potential mosquito breeding grounds:Discard old tires, tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or other containers that can hold water;Repair failed septic systems;Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors;Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed;Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains;Frequently replace the water in pet bowls;Flush ornamental fountains and birdbaths periodically; and,Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with predatory fish.
Nursery Education is an essential aspect in children attaining optimum academic achievement. This was the contention of Acting Chief Education Officer (CEO) Marcel Hutson as he alluded to the importance of nursery education in the country.Hutson was at the time speaking at the launch of a Literacy Clinic at the Ramada Princess Hotel on Sunday, explaining that the Day marked 40 years since public access to Nursery Education was realised in Guyana.“We [are] celebrating 40 years [of] nursery education which is a fundamental kind of education and we believe that if our children are going to do well, they must be able to get that motivation to be able to push and the inspiration to go forward,” he said.It was in 1976 that all private education was discontinued from Nursery to University and became free of cost. This change was premised on the State’s policy at the time, when socialism was dominant and pre-eminent. Before then, nursery level education was the preserve of the privileged who sent their children to these institution that were run privately.In fact, at the time the policy was changed, the Education Ministry had little involvement in the nursery level.According to historical accounts, at the time government assumed full control of the education sector, the Ministry of Education, through its relevant agencies sought to train the school owners and teachers to align their teaching methodology with the State’s curriculum requirements.Further, these nursery education facilitators were then paid by the State.In the early years of the public nursery system, the government continued to use the same buildings that the private institutions had held. Over time, nursery classes developed into Primary schools, a situation that exists today.Additionally, government had also set up what is called “Discreet Nursery Schools” where the nursery school was held in a separate building. One example is the Starters’ Nursery School, located at the back of St Margaret’s Primary in Cummingsburg, Georgetown.In those days, some parents opted not to send their children to school and many parents would wait until the Primary age to begin formal schooling.Guyana Times was told that this situation continued, which led to some Headteachers of Primary institutions being hesitant in accepting children without the nursery level education.The inclusion of Nursery Education in the public system gave rise to the development of the Early Childhood Education Programme which allowed for teachers to be trained for two years of nursery in addition to the first two years primary education, now called Grades 1 and 2.Research has shown that when teachers embarked on this programme, they were better equipped to prepare students for the transition from Nursery to Primary.In Guyana, teachers are professionally trained at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) and the University of Guyana (UG).On Thursday last, the Education Ministry announced that CPCE is currently interviewing prospective students for 2016-2017 after having received 1847 applications for its programmes: Associate Degree in Education (two years); Associate Degree in Education (one year); and, Trained Teachers Certificate (three years).It was not specified how many applicants would be included for early childhood training. The statement however pointed out that “applicants will be selected based on the needs of the Administrative Region”.