CARPHA ramps up its response to Zika

Date: 
Monday, January 25, 2016 - 20:00

The Caribbean public health sector (CARPHA) officials are strongly advising the adoption of personal protective measures to avoid mosquito bites and the reduction of mosquito breeding grounds.

They say the presence in the Caribbean is rapidly evolving and with "good conditions for spreading the Caribbean," CARPHA  said, pointing out that "we have abundant mosquitos; a lot of travel and movement and a completely susceptible population. 

The following is the complete press release by CARPHA

 

"As the Caribbean public health sector ramps up its response to the Zika virus in the Region, officials are strongly advising the adoption of personal protective measures to avoid mosquito bites and the reduction of mosquito breeding grounds.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) issued the advice on Monday at a press conference held to address the presence of the Zika virus in the Caribbean.

Zika is a new disease that is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also transmits chikungunya, dengue and yellow fever.

So far, there are 22 countries and jurisdictions in the Americas with Zika virus cases, including four CARPHA member states - Guyana, Barbados, Haiti and Suriname. Zika's presence in the Caribbean is rapidly evolving with "good conditions for spread in the Caribbean", CARPHA said, pointing out that "we have abundant mosquitoes; a lot of travel and movement, and a completely susceptible population".

Given the nature of the Zika, the unusual increases in two conditions associated with the virus - microcephaly and Guillain-Barre Syndrome - and the fact that there is no specific treatment, vaccine or preventive drug, CARPHA has underscored the necessity to avoid contact with mosquitoes.

For pregnant women and women intending pregnancy in areas where Zika virus is circulating, it is recommended to take extra precautions to avoid contact with the vector (repellent, screens, long pants and sleeves) and to be extra vigilant to reduce any breeding sites in and around the house.

The issue of mosquito or vector control therefore plays an extremely important role and is not just the responsibility of government. All of us have a responsibility to reduce/eliminate breeding sites. Health facilities, hotels and tourism facilities, ports of entry, and schools are among the key sites for ensuring mosquito control.

... this a new disease and it is not clear just how it will manifest in our populations. I must also note that mosquito control is failing; and that we must do better. The situation we experienced with ChikV and now the threat of Zika, underline that we need to get much more serious," Dr. James Hospedales, Executive Director of CARPHA said'.