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Get tested if you have Zika symptoms – Official


Anyone with a temperature of over 37 degrees, fever, rash, joint pains, a dry red eye or vomiting, should go to the nearest doctor to get tested for the Zika virus.

“It would be one thing for you to sit at home and say this is just an ordinary thing, if we don’t test we wouldn’t know,” said chief medical officer (CMO) Dr Simone Keizer-Beache while addressing a press briefing at the Ministry of Health’s conference room yesterday.{{more}}

The CMO said that she is urging persons who have symptoms of Zika to get tested so that confirmation can be made.

“If you experience any of those symptoms, go to a health care practitioner because we need to test so that we can determine whether or not you have a regular ‘flu, Dengue, Zika or Chikungunya. Unless we test we would not know,” said Keizer-Beache who revealed that blood samples would be sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) lab in Trinidad and Tobago for confirmation.

“What we are asking is that if anyone experiences symptoms…I’m urging persons, if you have symptoms, if you have traveled, been in contact with somebody who might have travelled, we want you to seek advice, go to health care persons, go to polyclinics. We have our district clinics, we have private physicians, you don’t have to necessarily go to a government physician because we are in contact with all physicians,” said Keizer-Beache.

It was noted that statistics are important in the fight against any virus or disease.

As it relates to screening, Keizer-Beache said that while it is difficult to screen somebody who comes off a plane, the Ministry is focusing on eliminating mosquito breeding around ports of entry, “so that we don’t have mosquitos there waiting to bite them (visitors) and get the Zika from them.”

The CMO added, “We are focusing on ports and looking at inspecting planes so that we can ensure that they are complying with the regulations and when they spray (inside planes) they kill any bugs that might be there.”

Also present at the media briefing were permanent secretary Luis deShong, epidemiologist Dr Rosmond Adams, senior environmental health officer and supervisor of the vector control unit Todd Lewis, pediatric neurologist Dr Mischa Duncan-Adams, neurologist at the St James School of Medicine, Dr. Anwarul Siddiqui, chief health promotion officer Patsy Wyllie, chief laboratory technologist Claudette Williams and minister of health Luke Browne.

Browne said that the Ministry has devised a thorough plan for the prevention and control of the Zika virus that includes fogging, clean-up campaigns and the dissemination of information. (LC)