National Health Emergency declared over Zika virus threat

Friday, January 29, 2016 - 00:00

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has issued a national public health emergency in T&T, placing the country on a heightened state of alert in light as it relates to the Zika virus threat.

This means the Ministry of Health will be partnering with the Ministry of National Security to combat the spread of Zika.

This means soldiers will be assisting in disseminating information on the virus.

The service men will be going door to door handing out flyers and information booklets starting in mosquito hotspots.

The initiative is expected to start next Tuesday in Bagatelle.

Minister Deyalsingh was speaking at the weekly health conference at his Ministry's Park Street office this morning.

Even as the first Zika case is yet to be diagnosed in T&T, the Ministry, he says has already established a rapid response unit to treat with the Aedes Aegypti mosquito.

The Ministry later issued the following statement:

"At a media conference held on Friday, January 29, 2016 Minister of Health, the Honourable Terrence announced that he would now be treating the Zika virus as a public health emergency. This declaration means that resources meant to handle an actual or potential public health crisis have now been released to address and manage this threat.

It is important to note that at this time, there are no confirmed cases of the Zika Virus in Trinidad.

This stance is being taken because of the spread of the virus across the Caribbean and Latin America. Additionally, the native Aedes aegypti mosquito population in Trinidad and Tobago which is responsible for spreading Zika means that the arrival in this country is inevitable.

This more robust approach to treating the threat of mosquito borne diseases will involve collaboration with the Ministries of Local Government and National Security to increase duties of fogging, spraying and information dissemination. While the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago works at managing this threat, the public is also reminded of their part in dealing with mosquito borne diseases.

1.     Dispose of all unwanted containers/items that may collect water.

2.     Cover water barrels, drums or buckets with a tight fitted lid.

3.     Keep your drains and guttering clean.

4.     Empty and scrub the sides of water vases.

5.     Wear clothing to cover your arms and legs.

6.     Apply insect repellent to exposed skin.

7.        Sleep under a mosquito bed-net."