Zika virus under surveillance
THE MINISTRY OF Health is continuing to monitor the Zika virus, which was reported in the Caribbean region for the first time in June 2015.
Speaking earlier today at a press conference to address the H1N1 and Zika viruses, Minister of Health, John Boyce, reported that there are currently eight suspected cases in Barbados. He explained that samples will be sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency for confirmatory testing, and these results will be shared when the Ministry receives word from that agency.
Boyce noted that his Ministry was mindful that members of the public would be concerned whenever a new disease emerged. However, he urged Barbadians “to use simple measures to prevent mosquito breeding around our homes, business places and communities”.
“The fact that the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the Zika virus, is the same mosquito that spreads Dengue Fever and Chikungunya, we are all very familiar with the prevention and control measures which we need to undertake… Inspect your surroundings to search out and remove mosquito breeding places on your properties. The Ministry of Health recommends that this should be done once per week,” he urged.
The Zika Virus is a mild febrile viral illness that is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is also a carrier of the Zika virus. Illness resulting from infection is usually mild, and it is not considered to be as severe as Dengue Fever or Chikungunya.
To combat Zika and other mosquito-borne illnesses, the Environmental Health Department will continue to carry out prevention and control activities, such as house to house inspections, surveillance at ports of entry and fogging in high risk areas.
In addition, the Ministry will continue its epidemiological surveillance to collect and analyse data from various sources, including private and public sector facilities, on a weekly basis to gather information for planning a response. (BGIS)