Residents are being encouraged to spend the weekend assessing their properties for any areas which could harbour mosquitoes.
On Wednesday, Trevor Howe of the Environmental Health Department said on Talking Health that they are about to launch a clean up campaign to target sites which could lead to the growth of mosquitoes. This newest drive comes as a result of the Zika virus being discovered in other Caribbean islands and South America.
According to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Zika is a new mosquito-borne virus to the Caribbean region. It arrived in the Americas in 2015 and has since spread to several Caribbean territories. While the disease is considered to be mild, recent occurrences suggest a possible link between Zika infection in pregnant women and birth defects. This has caused great concern among health professionals and the general public.
In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. The outbreak in Brazil led to reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes.
Howe said that this Sunday and Monday residents should look around their area, remove any containers which are holding standing water where mosquitoes can breed.
If there are derelict vehicles on property then they should register them with the Royal Montserrat Police Service (RMPS) for later pick up. If a vehicle is spotted on an empty lot, then residents should inform the environmental health of the location.
A schedule for picking up debris will be released shortly. Residents are encourage to listen to ZJB for updates and pick up days and times.
Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.