Categorized | Featured, Local, News, Regional

ZIKA virus takes center stage in the region

Not yet reported in Montserrat – ‘preparatory warnings’ of its arrival

By Bennette Roach

Mosquito_Tasmania_crop-1024x772As incidences of the apparently non-fatal Zika virus nears the borders of Montserrat, the Ministry of Health here says it has increased surveillance and heightened awareness of the Zika a virus given the increase in transmission of the virus in the region.

Following earlier pronouncements, the Health Ministry says it’s taking steps to ensure that if or when infections are detected on the island they are properly contained and managed.

In a press release issued to the media Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 13 (which to date did not directly reach TMR??) the Health Ministry said it was unrealistic to expect that the virus would remain in the rest of the region and not affect Montserrat, in light of this the ministry says it is presently increasing surveillance of presidents presenting at the health care facilities with symptoms that resemble any vector born infections such as dengue fever, chikungunya, or zika.

On November 12, 2015, Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has confirmed five cases of Zika virus in Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nation.

At that time no specific country was identified nor details given about the infected individuals.

Prior to that, suspected cases of the mosquito-borne disease were reported in Brazil and the Dominican Republic, but eventually it was detected within CARICOM.

Since then CARPHA’s executive director Dr. C. James Hospedales emphasized that prevention and control are fundamental in order to prevent transmission of the virus.

“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.”

CARPHA began urging the public to inspect their homes and yards weekly, and 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 serve as breeding sites.

Health authorities, epidemiology experts from Latin America and the Caribbean, and representatives of World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centers gathered in Buenos Aires, Argentina to discuss actions to improve countries’ preparedness and response with respect to Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika.

Come January and the spread of the virus became evident in and around the region. Soon the virus as could be expected began showing up in various other countries and territories . More recently, Thursday, yesterday, it was reported in Guyana and Haiti who also confirmed the presence of the virus. Now the virus had been found in 16 Western Hemisphere countries and territories, including Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guyana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, Suriname and Venezuela.

In the release here, it says the Ministry will also train staff to identify and report suspected cases.

It says increased public education to empower persons to identify signs of Zika and other mosquito borne diseases will also be undertaken.

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 says it is also a liaising with the regional reference laboratory to ensure availability of testing for any suspected cases.

As CARPHA previously did it is also encouraging persons to take better control of the environment by eliminating breeding sites in households and common areas.

Persons affected by the Zeke a virus usually display symptoms such as elevated body temperature or fever, joint and muscle pains and headache.

A few persons may experience red eye and vomiting. It is reported that the main form of transmission of the Zika virus is from one person to another by the Aedes Aegypti Mosquito.

It is also suspected to carry the risk of microcephaly which causes smaller than expected head sizes to occur infants of affected mothers.

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Not yet reported in Montserrat – ‘preparatory warnings’ of its arrival

By Bennette Roach

Mosquito_Tasmania_crop-1024x772As incidences of the apparently non-fatal Zika virus nears the borders of Montserrat, the Ministry of Health here says it has increased surveillance and heightened awareness of the Zika a virus given the increase in transmission of the virus in the region.

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Following earlier pronouncements, the Health Ministry says it’s taking steps to ensure that if or when infections are detected on the island they are properly contained and managed.

In a press release issued to the media Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 13 (which to date did not directly reach TMR??) the Health Ministry said it was unrealistic to expect that the virus would remain in the rest of the region and not affect Montserrat, in light of this the ministry says it is presently increasing surveillance of presidents presenting at the health care facilities with symptoms that resemble any vector born infections such as dengue fever, chikungunya, or zika.

On November 12, 2015, Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has confirmed five cases of Zika virus in Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nation.

At that time no specific country was identified nor details given about the infected individuals.

Prior to that, suspected cases of the mosquito-borne disease were reported in Brazil and the Dominican Republic, but eventually it was detected within CARICOM.

Since then CARPHA’s executive director Dr. C. James Hospedales emphasized that prevention and control are fundamental in order to prevent transmission of the virus.

“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.”

CARPHA began urging the public to inspect their homes and yards weekly, and 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 serve as breeding sites.

Health authorities, epidemiology experts from Latin America and the Caribbean, and representatives of World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centers gathered in Buenos Aires, Argentina to discuss actions to improve countries’ preparedness and response with respect to Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika.

Come January and the spread of the virus became evident in and around the region. Soon the virus as could be expected began showing up in various other countries and territories . More recently, Thursday, yesterday, it was reported in Guyana and Haiti who also confirmed the presence of the virus. Now the virus had been found in 16 Western Hemisphere countries and territories, including Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guyana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, Suriname and Venezuela.

In the release here, it says the Ministry will also train staff to identify and report suspected cases.

It says increased public education to empower persons to identify signs of Zika and other mosquito borne diseases will also be undertaken.

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 says it is also a liaising with the regional reference laboratory to ensure availability of testing for any suspected cases.

As CARPHA previously did it is also encouraging persons to take better control of the environment by eliminating breeding sites in households and common areas.

Persons affected by the Zeke a virus usually display symptoms such as elevated body temperature or fever, joint and muscle pains and headache.

A few persons may experience red eye and vomiting. It is reported that the main form of transmission of the Zika virus is from one person to another by the Aedes Aegypti Mosquito.

It is also suspected to carry the risk of microcephaly which causes smaller than expected head sizes to occur infants of affected mothers.