Barbados Health Ministry issues Zika virus warning

Minister of Health John Boyce

The Ministry of Health has warned the public to be on the alert in the event that the mosquito born Zika Virus reaches the British overseas territory.

According to the Health Ministry, in light of reports that the virus has been detected in neighbouring countries, persons should  take better care of their surroundings in order to control the spread of the virus.

“The Zika Virus is now present in the OECS, Martinique and Puerto Rico and considering the volume of travel between the BVI and these islands, there is a need for increased surveillance and heightened awareness of this virus and its impact on human health,” said Medical Officer of  Health, Dr Ronald Georges.

A release from the government stated  also that the laboratory at the public hospital  – the Peebles Hospital laboratory is ready for testing of samples from suspected cases, and has established procedures for use by other local health care providers.

The government said that in addition, the Surveillance Officers at the Environmental Health Division will continue to carry out inspections and monitor areas where mosquito breeding may be occurring or areas where suspected cases have been identified.

On Friday, the government of Barbados said it was closely monitoring eight suspected cases of the virus.

At a press conference , Health Minister John Boyce, said samples will be sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency in Trinidad and Tobago for confirmatory testing.

A regional alert was issued recently  by the Pan American Health Organisation. The Zika virus is transmitted by the same Aedes Aegypti mosquito that is also the insect vector for Dengue and Chikungunya and the symptoms are also very similar.

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