Public health aims to keep Zika virus out of Cayman

| 03/12/2015 | 8 Comments
Cayman News Service

Aedes aegypti mosquito

(CNS): The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has said that the Zika virus continues to circulate in the Caribbean region and the Americas but local public health officials said they are doing what they can to raise awareness and keep the Cayman Islands free of the virus. Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriguez has urged the public to remain on alert and practice precautionary measures for protecting against mosquito bites.

“This includes wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants when outside during times that mosquitoes bite and using mosquito repellent with DEET on the skin,” he said. “Caution should also be taken to prevent mosquitoes breeding in and around homes. Individuals, communities and stakeholders must take responsibility to prevent transmission of Zika Virus and other mosquito borne illnesses.”

Dr Bill Petrie, Director of the Mosquito Research Unit (MRCU), said his department closely monitors the incidence of any mosquito-borne disease in the region. “MRCU continues to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquito in order to reduce the risk of transmission of Zika virus. We encourage residents to help prevent mosquito breeding around yards and homes by removing potential water-containers such as discarded tyres and Styrofoam lunch boxes, and by turning over buckets and covering drums,” he said.

According to regional health organisations, the impact from the Zika virus in the region is of no cause for concern and there is no interference with international travel or trade. But officials want to prevent introduction and transmission locally.

Zika causes a dengue and chikungunya-like sickness and is transmitted mainly by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The most recent activity of the Zika virus includes five confirmed cases in the Caribbean territory and six cases as of Monday 30 November in Paraguay. There has been one confirmed case in Guatemala, three cases in El Salvador and Mexico, and four cases in Venezuela. There is no further evidence to show the virus has spread to any other Caribbean countries.

The symptoms of the Zika virus include fever, muscle and joint pain, conjunctivitis, headache, nausea and rash. There is no vaccine or treatment but symptoms, which last around four to seven days, are treatable.

For further information, contact the Public Health Department on 244-2621 or MRCU on 949-2557.

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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (8)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Can it be avoided to fly over the football pitches and spray there at a time the kids are out playing?

  2. Jus da fax says:

    “……includes five confirmed cases in the Caribbean territory….”. Which Caribbean territory? Please?

  3. Dufas Williems says:

    Someone is not doing their research properly. There are many cases of the Zika virus on San Andres island. When last I checked San Andres was very much within the Caribbean sea/region.

    • Anonymous says:

      Unlike Chikungunya, Dengue, and Yellow Fever that are all transmitted by domesticated and now indigenous Aedes aegypti, the mortality factor of Zika Virus is infinitesimal at 0.013%, ie. one death per 10,000 patients. Definitely a bad few days of fever, but unlikely to be the final rites for the average person.

      There were 129 Zika cases in Columbia (as at Oct 28) and 32 cases in San Andres at Oct 30 – everyone afflicted seems to be better now. No news stories or reported cases for well over a month.

  4. Tooty Fruity says:

    I doubt it but must ask anyway, does this Zika virus pose a threat to heterosexuals as well?

  5. Anonymous says:

    We wouldn’t have an issue in brac if MRCU in brac would spray once in awhile

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