Mosquito-borne virus Zika threatens Caribbean

Posted on 21/05/2015

Mosquito-borne virus Zika threatens Caribbean

First Dengue, then Chikungunya, now Zika? When will this mosquito madness end!?

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has issued a warning to persons in the Caribbean to take the necessary precautions amid an outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in Brazil.

The warning follows meetings at the World Health Assembly now taking place in Geneva, Switzerland.

In the meantime, persons are being urged to take the necessary precautions to rid their surroundings of any place mosquitoes could breed.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito which spreads the Zika virus is generally found in and around places where people inhabit.

Persons should therefore 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 from the same family as and 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 3 – 12 days. The symptoms last for 4 – 7 days. No deaths due to the Zika virus have been recorded worldwide to date.

The Zika virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito – the same mosquito that transmits Chikungunya and Dengue. Brazil confirmed its first cases of the Zika virus in May this year.

The news comes against the background of the Chikungunya virus (ChikV) epidemic that affected thousands of persons in the Caribbean.

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