January 8, 2016
Ministry of Health on alert for Zika virus

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment (MoHWE) is on the alert for the Zika virus, following confirmation of cases in the region.

Zika is a viral disease, transmitted by the aedes aegypti mosquito, the same vector responsible for Dengue and Chikungunya.

The symptoms are also very similar to these diseases and include fever, muscle and joint pain, headache, conjunctivitis, swelling of the lower limbs, nausea, weakness and rash. These symptoms occur about three to 12 days after being bitten by the infected mosquitoes.

A release from the MoHWE said no case of the Zika virus has been reported in SVG at this time, but with increased travel throughout the region and with the vector (aedes aegypti) present in St Vincent and the Grenadines, we must be vigilant.

“Effective prevention and control are fundamental in order to prevent transmission of the virus,” the release said.

“The MOHWE has heightened the surveillance system to detect and respond to any Zika cases. The Ministry will continue to intensify public health interventions, including fogging activities, inspection of properties, destruction of mosquito breading, sites and health promotion activities.

“The Ministry, therefore, appeals to the public to take all preventative measures, to inspect their homes drains and yards and eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites indoors and outdoors, keep water drums and barrels tightly covered, and throw out stagnant water from flower vases, old tyres, and other containers that might act as breeding sites.

“In addition, persons are encouraged to protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved clothing or long pants, using insect repellents, and bed nets while sleeping.

Persons displaying signs and symptoms of Zika virus, especially pregnant women, should visit their health centres and seek medical attention.”