Ministry: How To Keep Zika Virus Out Of Bermuda

May 9, 2016

The Ministry of Health, Seniors and Environment said that while have been no cases of Zika virus identified in Bermuda, it is “important to maintain prevention efforts,” so they wish to update the public on how to keep Zika virus out of Bermuda.

“Good travel health habits, local mosquito control and prevention of mosquito bites, at home and when travelling, are essential to assure that the Zika virus never arrives on our shores,” the Ministry said.

The full advisory is below:

The Ministry of Health, Seniors and Environment would like to remind the public of the importance of preventing the occurrence of Zika in Bermuda. Currently, there have been no cases of Zika virus identified in Bermuda.

However, as the warmer weather approaches and worldwide travel increases, it is important to maintain prevention efforts. We wish to update the public on how to keep Zika virus out of Bermuda.

Good travel health habits, local mosquito control and prevention of mosquito bites, at home and when travelling, are essential to assure that the Zika virus never arrives on our shores.

The greatest threat of importing Zika virus comes from travel to areas of the world where mosquitos carrying the virus are present. Zika virus disease [Zika] is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.

This species of mosquito is also able to spread dengue and chikungunya and bite mostly during the daytime. Protection from the bites of mosquitos is the most effective way to prevent Zika virus infection. Individuals, who have been bitten by mosquitos in an area where Zika virus is circulating, can potentially transport the virus to Bermuda.

The Aedes albopictus mosquito is resident in Bermuda and has the potential of spreading the Zika Virus if it bites a person infected with the virus. Presently, there have been no confirmed cases of Zika Virus Infection in Bermuda, reported to the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit.

However, outbreaks are occurring in many countries. Specific areas where Zika is occuring are likely to change over time. If travelling, please visit the CDC Travelers’ Health site for the most updated travel information at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/active-countries.html.

If you have been traveling to an area where mosquitos are known to be infected with Zika, it is important to take the utmost care to avoid being bitten. When you return from travel to such a region, monitor your health for symptoms of Zika and, if they occur, report immediately to your doctor. Remember to inform your doctor of your travel s so that appropriate testing can be done.

The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, body rash, joint pain or conjunctivitis [red eyes]. However, the majority of individuals with Zika have no symptoms of illness.

Equally important, once at home from such travel, you must protect yourself from being bitten by mosquitos in Bermuda, especially if you may have Zika infection. This is how Zika can be transmitted from other regions of the world to Bermuda.

Zika virus can also be spread through sexual contact, by a man to his sexual partner. It may be possible for a man to carry Zika and give it to his partner[s] through sex, even when he does not have symptoms, or know that he is infected.

To help prevent getting and spreading Zika from sex, condoms should be used correctly and consistently for all forms of sexual contact. Not having sex is the only way to be sure that someone does not get sexually transmitted Zika virus.

The timeframe for using condoms or waiting to have sex will vary based on the couple’s situation, but a minimum of four weeks is generally advised. Couples should consult their healthcare provider or find out more information here.

Zika is of greatest health concern for pregnant women and those who may become pregnant while infected. A pregnant woman can pass Zika virus to her fetus during pregnancy. Zika infection during pregnancy can harm the fetus and can cause certain birth defects in babies.

Therefore:

  • Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy or women trying to become pregnant should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant, who do travel to one of these areas, should talk to their healthcare provider and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.
  • Pregnant women should talk to their healthcare provider if their male sexual partners recently traveled to an area with Zika, even if they don’t feel sick.
  • If a pregnant women’s male sexual partner has travelled to a country with ongoing Zika transmission, to prevent spreading Zika through sex, the couple should use a condom every time they have sex or not have sex during the pregnancy.

This is also an opportunity to remind the public to take steps to reduce mosquito breeding on your property. Mosquitoes can breed in the smallest amount of water, so to minimize the risk of mosquito breeding, ensure that any object that can collect water is emptied. Empty all stagnant [standing] water around your property, including:

  • buckets and barrels
  • cat or dog food and water bowls
  • child pools
  • flower pot bases
  • playground equipment [ones with kitchens and/or drawers]
  • old cans
  • tires
  • water fountains

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Comments (11)

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  1. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    The only way to keep zika out of here is to stop all incoming persons…otherwise welcome zika to your neighborhood.

    • Lol okay then says:

      Then you can say bye bye to any sort of income through the tourist industry.

  2. Toleratate says:

    Not to start a panic or lay any type of blame; but has the Regiment being alerted to monitor the troops that went over to Jamaica? I read the virus was active on the Island.
    I was there with the regiment years ago and not a gallon of OFF or any repellent saved me from bites. It’s just a natural thing that will happen, and no-ones fault.
    Out of concern for our guys, I hope action was taken to inform and assist.

    • Ffs says:

      The uniforms are treated with some sort of chemical to repel bugs. Only lasts 50 washes though… so any older soldiers uniforms will not be treated.

  3. Albie says:

    So why after what must be over a hundred years of eradication efforts by government do we still have mosquitos?

    Mosquitos that could spread dengue, Zika, chikingunya and who knows what else.

    In Bermuda mosquitos serve no purpose. It’s time to eradicate this pest and capitalize on that fact for tourism and other visitors.

    • Bloop Bleep Bloop says:

      Male Mosquitos help pollinate flowers.

      We don’t fully understand what eradicating an entire species from the ecosystem would do it. Maybe nothing and other pests would flourish; maybe there would be a collapse as a major food source disappears.

      We’ve messed with ecosystems before and paid the consequences for it.

  4. Real Talk says:

    Zika doesn’t exist. Neither does Ebola. Scare tactics by the governments to introduce more ‘vaccines’ to the masses.

    • Bloop Bleep Bloop says:

      Except there isn’t a vaccine for either.

      They had to rush to try and make one for the previous Ebola outbreak but the next one will certainly be a different strain.

      Why would pharmaceutical companies want to push vaccines? There’s little to no money in them? Chronic illness is where the big bucks lie.