Vulnerable Persons Encouraged to Take Extra Precautions Against Zika Virus

The Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) is encouraging persons to take extra precautions against the Zika Virus (ZikV) particularly the most vulnerable including pregnant women, newborns, the elderly and persons with chronic underlying diseases. The call comes as the region intensifies precautionary measures against an imminent outbreak of the Zika Virus disease.

Regional Technical Director at the SRHA, Dr. Michael Coombs noted that the region has been placing greater emphasis on health education as each citizen has a personal role to play in mitigating the disease. The health education strategies include town hall meetings to facilitate information sharing and feedback regarding the ZIKV infection through the distribution of flyers and pamphlets and also the placing of these flyers at strategic public places.

The SRHA has also partnered with the Ministry of Education in training Guidance Counsellors and teachers involved in Health and Family Life Education empowering them to share information with their students. In addition, health education workers have been mobilizing the community through house to house education and community meetings.

Other precautionary measures include ongoing vector control in communities across the region and the acquisition of additional equipment to assist with vector control, the development of a plan to deal with possible patient overload and the alternative use of facilities, the employment of temporary vector workers to assist with health education and vector control and the use of a surveillance system to monitor trends in the occurrence of this disease and congenital abnormalities.

Dr. Coombs noted that each person should take a personal approach to protect themselves from mosquito bites by using insect repellent containing DEET, putting mesh on windows and doors and destroy mosquito breeding sites by looking for anything around the home, school, churches and business places that may collect water and either cover it, keep it dry or dispose of it.