Warning as Zika Virus is confirmed in Martinique

Environmental Health Officer, Morrison McPherson has warned that Dominica should not wait until the mosquito-borne Zika Virus reaches it shores to take serious precautions.

The virus is getting closer to Dominica with neighbouring French island, Martinique, becoming the latest Caribbean country to report confirmed cases.

That island is the 11 country in the region to confirm the disease, and 12 to confirm local transmission.

“Let us not wait until we are affected by these diseases, it might be too costly to take care of it,” McPherson said during a radio interview recently. “The pain that you experience and sometimes in rare cases, God forbid it, can lead to death. That is what we do not want to happen.”

The Zika Virus is spread by the Aedis Egypti mosquito and McPherson noted that measures must be taken to prevent breeding of the insect.

“Let us take in front and prevent these animals responsible from getting the right content that they need in order to breed and increase their population,” he stated.

McPherson explained that when the population of the mosquito increases it also increases the risk of the spread of diseases.

According to him, it must be understood that the Aedis Egypti mosquito is present here in Dominica.

McPherson is appealing to the general public to be proactive when managing water in containers.

“Let’s keep it covered and if you don’t need the water, don’t store them in these containers,” he warned. “That is just making the environment right for the breeding of mosquitoes…”

Meantime Chief Environmental Officer, Anthony Scotland said the disease could have a serious effect on pregnant women.

“Zika is almost mild but in terms of women, that is the other complication because it is mild, you can have the disease and do not know, but it can affect your fetus ….” he explained. “These vectors are deadly, dangerous and we need to continue to manage our containers around Dominica.”

Zika is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe illness requiring hospitalisation is uncommon.

Symptoms of the Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. (Dominica News Online)

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