Caribbean on Zika alert!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

The Pan Amer­i­can Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (PAHO) has is­sued an alert for its mem­bers re­gard­ing the mos­quito-borne zika virus. Cur­rently the pub­lic health au­thor­i­ties in Brazil are in­ves­ti­gat­ing a pos­si­ble trans­mis­sion of the virus in the north­east of the coun­try. This virus is trans­mit­ted by the same Aedes Ae­gypti mos­quito that is also the in­sect vec­tor for dengue and chikun­gunya and the symp­toms are also very sim­i­lar to them (how­ever, the in­fec­tion it­self may also present it­self as asymp­to­matic).

On Mon­day, the Caribbean Pub­lic Health Agency con­firmed five cases of the zika virus in a ter­ri­tory of the Caribbean com­mu­nity, ac­cord­ing to Liverostrum News Agency. The ter­ri­tory where the cases were con­firmed has not been re­vealed.

Re­ports say the dis­ease sur­veil­lance sys­tem op­er­ated by one of the com­mu­nity’s mem­bers, Gre­nada, has since been height­ened and health of­fi­cials are on alert.

Doc­tors are now in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether the virus could be linked to a rise in cases of mi­cro­cephaly in in­fants, af­ter the Brazil­ian health min­istry con­firmed nearly 400 cases of new­borns with ab­nor­mally small heads in an in­fected re­gion of north-east Brazil.

Symp­toms which ap­pear acutely and last from 4-7 days in­clude fever, non-pu­ru­lent con­junc­tivi­tis (in­flam­ma­tion of the out­er­most layer of the eye and in­ner sur­face of the eye­lids with no pus pro­duc­tion), headache, mus­cle and joint pain, weak­ness, mac­u­lopapu­lar rash (red rash con­sist­ing of small bumps), oedema in the lower limbs (swelling), eye­ball pain, anorexia, vom­it­ing and di­ar­rhoea or ab­dom­i­nal pain. Preven­tion and con­trol is fun­da­men­tal PAHO says in or­der to pre­vent trans­mis­sion of the virus. Some sug­ges­tions are as fol­lows:

En­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment – elim­i­na­tion of mos­quito breed­ing sites in house­hold and com­mon ar­eas, in­clud­ing mass san­i­ta­tion pro­ce­dures.

Breed­ing Site Con­trol - ap­pli­ca­tion of phys­i­cal, bi­o­log­i­cal and chem­i­cal meth­ods.

Per­sonal preven­tion for in­fected per­sons – pa­tients should use mos­quito bed nets which can also be treated with in­sec­ti­cide; pa­tients should wear cloth­ing that does not ex­pose the skin; use of mos­quito re­pel­lants; use of wire mesh screens for win­dows and doors.

PAHO im­plores all to take the nec­es­sary proac­tive mea­sures to elim­i­nate any mos­quito breed­ing sites in your im­me­di­ate ar­eas.

Ralph Gon­salves in a show of vic­tory.

The Aedes Ae­gypti mos­quito re­spon­si­ble for dengue

and chick­un­gunya is also re­spon­si­ble for zika.

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