By anguillian January 25, 2016 09:34 Updated



Zika is a virus transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito – the same mosquito that spreads Dengue and Chikungunya.
Prior to 2015, outbreaks of Zika virus had been reported in tropical Africa, in some areas in Southeast Asia and in the Pacific Islands. In May of 2015, Brazil confirmed its first cases of local transmission of Zika, the first in our region. Since then the following countries have confirmed local circulation of Zika virus (ZIKV): Brazil, Barbados, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, and Venezuela.

Because the virus is transmitted by the same Aedes mosquito that spreads Chik-V and Dengue, it has the potential to spread wherever the mosquito is present. The presences of the Aedes mosquito in our region, along with high travel globally, continue to pose a risk for the spread of Zika virus.
The symptoms of the Zika virus are very similar to Dengue and usually start three to twelve days after a bite from an infected mosquito. They include fever, muscle and joint pain, conjunctivitis, headache, nausea, and rash. Symptoms usually last four to seven days and complications, including of the nervous system, are rare. However a possible link between Zika and infants born with a smaller than normal head size because of slowed or incomplete brain development is currently under investigation.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Zika. To relieve fever and pain associated with the virus, it is recommended that persons drink lots of fluids and take pain relievers such as paracetamol. Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should be avoided to reduce the risk of bleeding in cases where haemorrhagic viruses such as Dengue might be involved.
The main approaches to reducing the risk of Zika as well as Dengue and Chik-V remain the same:
• Avoid mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved clothing or long pants, using insect repellents and sleeping under mosquito nets.
• Eliminate places where mosquitoes can breed. These include uncovered water drums, old barrels, cisterns, bottles, flower pots, roof guttering, old tires – any places where water can collect and the mosquitoes can lay their eggs.
Mosquito control is the only way to stop these viruses. The Ministry of Health will continue to keep the public abreast of developments.

– Press Release
(Published without editing by The Anguillian newspaper.)

By anguillian January 25, 2016 09:34 Updated


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