Efforts to keep Zika away still working

Tuesday May 03, 2016 Written by Published in Health
The aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for spreading a variety of debilitating diseases, including Zika. 16050214 The aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for spreading a variety of debilitating diseases, including Zika. 16050214

Though the disease is present in some other Pacific countries, the Cook Islands Ministry of Health has still not recorded any confirmed cases of Zika virus this year.

 

However this has not stopped the ministry from intensifying their efforts to monitor and test suspected cases of the mosquito-borne disease.

The ministry’s community health services director, Dr Neti Herman says staff are ready to battle Zika if it gets into the country.

Destroying all mosquito-breeding places could stop the virus from spreading, she says.

Cook Islands border control staff are also on the alert for suspected Zika cases that could enter the country through visitor arrivals.

The ministry’s vector control team has been carrying out insecticide spraying around the island and Herman says it’s an effective control measure destroying mosquito breeding places around homes and workplaces.

 “Even though we have no confirmed cases reported, public health is still vigilant with our prevention efforts in eliminating mosquito breeding sites and resting places.

She said they would continue to intensify surveillance activities for testing suspected cases, especially because the Cook Islands is a popular destination for visitors.

The Zika virus is carried by the aedes mosquito, the same species which spreads dengue and chikungunya.

Some of the symptoms associated with the virus include a slight fever, rash, muscle and joint pain, and tiredness.

The symptoms usually subside within one to two weeks, but Zika has been linked with some very serious side effects including microcephaly – a birth defect which results in the birth of babies with unusually small heads.

 

The public has been urged to follow Ministry of Health advice on taking preventative measures.

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