277 potential new Zika cases in Barbados

Minister of Health worried about economic impact of Zika

Barbados Health officials have reported that the number of Zika infections are now up to 277 suspected new cases.

Speaking on the theme, One Environment, One Health-Informing the Caribbean’s Response to Zika, at a Zika Symposium, the Minister of Health John Boyce also acknowledged that worldwide, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that more than a million people die from mosquito borne diseases every year and that mosquitoes cause more human suffering than any other organism.

Read more: Caricom leaders endorse course of action on Zika virus

In light of the situation, Boyce said the goal of his Ministry was to encourage home owners to destroy vectors in and around their premises, while warning that there would be “firm, but fair” application of the Health Services Act 1969 in the prosecution of persons found breeding mosquitoes.

Minister of Health John Boyce acknowledged that worldwide, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that more than a million people die from mosquito borne diseases every year and that mosquitoes cause more human suffering than any other organism.

As part of Government’s drive to eradicate the Zika-bearing Aedes Aegypti mosquito, personnel from the Environmental Health Department would also be aiming to inspect all local premises at least twice every three months while special attention is paid to identifying and destroying mosquito breeding sites on tourism properties.

“This sector has been given priority because it is of vital importance to the economy and any crippling impact on tourism can undermine economic growth,” Boyce explained, pointing out that this partnership approach was also used in 2014 during the Chikungunya outbreak.

He also pointed out that as a result of the 2014 outbreak of Chikungunya disease, there was a dramatic rise in sickness claims, which, according to Director of National Insurance Ian Carrington, had forced the NIS to increase its claims budget.

Read more: CDC encourages guidance to prevent sexual transmission of Zika virus

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