Public Urged To Prevent Mosquito-borne Virus

December 21, 2015

The Bermuda Department of Health and The Caribbean Public Health Agency [CARPHA] have posted notices urging the public to take every precaution to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Earlier this month, CARPHA confirmed five cases of Zika [pronounced zee-kah] virus in a territory of the Caribbean Community. Zika is a viral disease, transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same insect vector for Dengue and Chikungunya. This is the first time Zika has been detected in CARICOM.

A spokesperson said, “CARPHA’s Executive Director, Dr. C. James Hospedales, emphasized the need for prevention and control measures to be taken in order to prevent transmission of the virus.

“While there is no evidence to date that Zika has spread to other Caribbean countries, Dr Hospedales, is calling on Caribbean Member States to continue to strengthen their surveillance programmes. He said, “Member States must remain vigilant and step up their vector control.”

“The advice to avoid being bitten by mosquito is even more critical for women who are pregnant, as the Ministry of Health in Brazil investigates a link between the mosquito-borne Zika virus and an increased incidence of microcephaly. Microcephaly is a condition where the size of an infant’s head is smaller than normal, because of slowed or incomplete brain development.

“While this may happen for a wide range of reasons, including inherited factors, it sometimes occurs as a result of exposure of the baby in the mother’s womb to certain infections, contracted in the first few months of pregnancy. Zika virus is now suspected to be one of the infections that can increase the risk of this condition.

“The Department of Health’s Vector Control Department is reminding the public that there are measures that you can take to protect your family and prevent local transmission of the disease in Bermuda:

  • 1. Empty any containers of standing water around the home or that may have collected water during last week’s inclement weather. Buckets, plant pots, tires, plastic sheeting and other items should be checked and emptied. Otherwise, the water they are holding may act as breeding grounds for mosquitoes. If you need assistance in doing so or need your property assessed, call Vector Control at 278-5397. Likewise if you are getting bitten by mosquitoes call Vector Control.
  • 2. Practice mosquito precautions to protect you and your family from Zika and Chikungunya if travelling to the Caribbean, Central or South America.
  • 3. If you travel to an affected country, reduce your mosquito exposure by using air conditioning or window/door screens, sleeping under a mosquito net, using insect repellent on exposed skin, and wearing long sleeves/pants if the weather permits. If you are bitten by mosquitoes, monitor your health for onset of symptoms for 3 to 7 days. If symptoms manifest, seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms of Zika virus include fever, rash, muscle or joint aches, eye redness and irritation [conjunctivitis], headache and feeling unwell. Neurologic and immune system complications can also occur. Zika virus causes symptoms similar to other mosquito-borne illnesses such as Chickungunya and Dengue, making them difficult to distinguish without laboratory tests.
  • 4. If you are sick with any of these diseases avoid mosquito bites to help prevent further spread of the virus in the community.

“For more information on the Zika or Chikungunya virus and for other public and travel health-related updates, visit the Department of Health’s “Health Alerts and Disasters” page.”

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  1. Marge says:

    check out the filthy pool at the Elder care facility in Southampton !!!!!mosquito heaven …….