Epidemiologist Dorothea Hazel of the Ministry of Health said she is confident the island working together can contain the spread of the Zika virus. She was speaking on the national radio station ZJB in response to the announcement that a resident has contracted the Zika virus.
Hazel said one of the samples sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for testing has returned with a positive. The patient is a resident of Montserrat and they are still investigating the circumstances under which it was contracted.
Zika is transmitted primarily by a bite from an infected Aedes Egypti mosquito. This mosquito also carries Chikangunya and Dengue.
Hazel said the virus can be spread between an infected mother to her unborn child and through sexual contact with an infected person. Primary symptoms are fever, rash and joint pain. Some may contract conjunctivitis also known as Red Eye. Muscle pain and headaches are also possible. Symptoms may occur between two to three days or up to a week.
Anyone who feels they may be experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention at the nearest community health centre, your private physician or at the Casualty Department at the Glendon Hospital.
All residents are asked to help prevent the spread of the virus by reducing mosquito breeding sites in their surroundings.
Those who feel unable to manage the problem should call the Environmental Health Department at 491-6057 for assistance. If you notice a breeding site on a vacant lot or in a ghaut please report it to the department.
The epidemiologist said that residents should use every means necessary to prevent being bitten, include wearing long sleeve shirts and pants. Also any insect repellent containing Deet can be used as this is the active agent.
Anyone who feels at risk of contracting the virus via sexual intercourse should abstain or ensure the proper use of condoms.
Hazel ended her statement by assuring the public that the island has had experience with similar issues, which they have managed to contain in short order. “I believe we can do the same thing,” she added.
Listen to her statement courtesy of Montserrat Radio Echo…https://montserratradioecho.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/tuesday-october-11-2016-a-statement-by-montserrats-epidemiologist-dorothea-hazel-regarding-reported-first-appearance-of-zika-virus-on-the-island