Caribbean on Zika alert!
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.