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Plans beefed up to mitigate against outbreak of Zika here

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With the confirmation of five cases of the mosquito bourne Zika virus in a Caricom territory, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment (MoHWE) here in St Vincent and the Grenadines has beefed up plans to mitigate any such outbreak here.

“The Ministry of Health etc is being extremely vigilant as earlier this year, suspected cases of the mosquito-borne disease were reported in Brazil and the Dominican Republic,” a release from the MoHWE said.{{more}}

Zika is a viral disease transmitted by the aedes aegypti mosquito, which is also the insect vector for Dengue and Chikungunya. The symptoms are also very similar to these diseases and include fever, muscle and joint pain, headache, nausea and rash. There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika and symptoms last approximately four to seven days. Complications are rare and no deaths due to Zika have ever been recorded.

“The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment remains alert and continues to monitor the situation, as this is the first time Zika has been detected in a territory of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).”

According to a media release from communications manager Carlon Kirton, executive director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Dr C James Hospedales emphasized that prevention and control are fundamental in order to prevent transmission of the virus. He said: “The best way to protect yourself from this disease is to avoid mosquito bites and to prevent mosquitoes breeding in and around your home environment.

“In this regard, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment urges the public to inspect their homes and yards weekly, and to eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites indoors and outdoors by keeping water drums and barrels tightly covered, and throwing out stagnant water from flower vases, old tyres, and other containers that might act as breeding sites. The Ministry will keep the public updated with information as it continues to monitor the situation.”

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