Mosquito-Borne Zika Virus Out Break In Brazil

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment is advising Vincentians to take the necessary precautions in light of the mosquito-borne Zika virus outbreak in Brazil, which could possibly spread to other Caribbean islands, including St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The warning comes following meetings at the World Health Assembly currently taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, and subsequent to a warning issued by the Pan American Health Organization.

A release from the Ministry says the aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads the Zika virus, is the same mosquito that is responsible for the transmission of Dengue and Chikungunya. It is generally found in and around places where people inhabit. Persons are urged to search for and destroy mosquito breeding sites by getting rid of old tyres and containers in which water can settle, punching holes in tins before disposing, and covering large drums, barrels and tanks holding water.

The Zika virus is similar to dengue, with symptoms which include fever, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis, headache, weakness, rash, and swelling of the lower limbs. After the bite of an infected mosquito, symptoms usually appear following the incubation period of three to 12 days. The symptoms last for four to seven days. No deaths due to the Zika virus have been recorded worldwide to date.

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment says it takes this potential threat very seriously and urges Vincentians to do their part to prevent mosquito breeding and so help to reduce any possibility of the introduction of the Zika virus into the island.