No confirmed cases of Zika virus

The Ministry of Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations has continued its regular media updates on the surveillance of Zika Virus Disease in St. Lucia.

 To date the Ministry has reported no confirmed cases of Zika on the island.

 Medical Officr for Health, Dr. Sharon, Bemar-George said regular surveillance is ongoing at all Wellness Centres and Hospitals around the island targeting persons who exhibit signs and symptoms of the virus with close attention paid to their recent travel history.

 “Our intensive week campaign during the month, March 14th – 19th was very successful because during that week we were able to intensify the message and ensured that we did quite a bit to increase vector awareness for Dengue Fever, Chikungunya and the Zika Virus.”

 This year’s Vector Awareness Week was launch in the community of Babonneau.

Motorcades were  held in the north and south of the island bellowing the message over loud speaker while distributing flyers to residents.

Officers from the Ministry of Health made a number of radio and television appearances on popular talk shows providing relevant information on the Zika Virus.

Several community cleanup exercises were conducted in collaboration with schools as well as community and constituency groups.

 “We also launched our Schools poster competition which is still ongoing at the various schools. As you are aware Zika Virus is spread similar to Chikungunya and Dengue Fever by the bit of the Aedes aegypti Mosquito so source reduction remains a priority. New research has also shown that the spread of the Zika Virus by sexual activity is also more important than recently thought as there have been some cases in the US.”

 Dr. Georges reiterated that despite new research pointing to the spread of Zika through sexual activity the main mode of transmission is still the bit of an infected Aedes aegypti Mosquito.

 “We are asking persons, communities, groups to continue to be vigilant in and around your home in-terms of reducing the breeding grounds of the Aedes aegypti Mosquito and also for the different communities to continue the various campaigns that we’ve commenced in the various parts of the island.”

 With the recent rainfall experience on the island Dr. George appeals to the populace to heighten their vigilance for mosquito breeding sites, in drums, flower vases, tires and other water receptacle to reduce the threat of vector borne diseases.