Mosquitoes spread diseases such as chik-V, dengue, ZIKV
Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Marion Bullock DuCasse is reiterating the need for individuals to destroy mosquito-breeding sites, especially given the current rainfall being experienced islandwide, as mosquitoes are known to spread diseases including the zika virus infection.
Last week, the Ministry of Health put Jamaica on high alert, following reports that there was on outbreak of the zika virus in Brazil and the potential of the mosquito-borne virus to spread to other countries.
Dr DuCasse said it has been proven scientifically that mosquitoes can transmit several viruses which cause diseases, including zika virus infection.
"Mosquitoes have, over the years, been responsible for the spread of diseases. It has been proven scientifically that the Aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for the transmission of the viruses that cause yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya and zika virus infection," she said.
"Greater attention, therefore, needs to be placed on destroying mosquito-breeding sites around homes, schools, businesses and places of worship, as this mosquito thrives around people."
Dr DuCasse emphasised that mosquito control is the only measure that can interrupt the transmission of the vector-borne diseases, such as the zika virus.
She is urging persons to search for and destroy mosquito-breeding sites by getting rid of old tyres and containers in which water can settle, punching holes in tins before disposing, and covering large drums, barrels and tanks holding water.
The Ministry of Health continues its preparedness for any possible introduction of the zika virus into the island by implementing the recommendations of the World Health Organization / Pan American Health Organization, which include: heightening surveillance to detect any possible cases of zika virus infection, ensuring appropriate clinical management of cases, public education and implementing a comprehensive integrated vector management programme.
ZIKA VIRUS FACTS
- The zika virus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes polynesiensis mosquitoes. The same mosquitoes that transmit chikungunya and dengue.
- The Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are generally found in and around places where people inhabit and congregate.
- After being bitten by an infected mosquito, symptoms of the disease appear following an incubation period of three to 12 days.
- Zika virus was first isolated in 1947 in Zika Forest, Uganda in a Rhesus monkey during the transmission of wild yellow fever.
- The virus was first isolated in humans in 1952 in Uganda and Tanzania. In 1968, the virus was detected in human samples in Nigeria.
- In 2007, the first major outbreak of zika virus fever occurred on the island of Yap, Micronesia, where 185 suspected cases were reported.
- In October 2013, approximately 10,000 cases were registered in an outbreak in French Polynesia.
- Brazil confirmed its first case of ZIKV in May 2015.
- Recent outbreaks of the zika virus in different regions of the world demonstrate the potential of the spread and outbreak of this arbovirus in regions where the Aedes mosquitoes are present.
- To date, no death has been attributed to the zika virus infection.
- The zika virus is considered a self-limiting disease, with symptoms lasting four to seven days.
- The zika virus appears as a very moderate disease, with fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, rash and sometimes swelling of the limbs.
- Some persons may also experience vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.
- Although not as deadly as chik-V, ZIKV can cause significant illnesses in severe cases.
- In some cases, co-infection can occur, with ZIKV and dengue, in some patients.
- In some instances, it may lead to autoimmune diseases, where the immune system turns on itself and starts destroying different cells leading to possible nerve disorders and bleeding disorders.
- However, most persons affected with ZIKV will have only a mild course with symptoms similar to dengue, and will recover in a few days.
- ZIKV patients do not display long-term effects nor are prone to relapses, as with chikungunya.
- There is no vaccine or specific treatment for the zika virus infection.
- Treatment is mainly symptomatic and supportive, including rest and the use of acetaminophen and paracetamol to relieve fever and pain. Antihistamines can be used to control itching.
- Using aspirin is not advised due to risk of bleeding and developing Reye's syndrome in children under 12 years.
- Patients are advised to drink plenty of fluids, to replenish loss from sweating, vomiting, diarrhoea.
WHAT TO DO
- Control spread of the Aedes aegypti and Aedes polynesiensis mosquitoes.
- Conduct systematic search in and around your environment for any stored, exposed body of water and take appropriate action.
- Get rid of old tyres.
- Punch holes in discarded containers.
- Properly cover containers with stored and drinking water.
- Pour a little oil in contained water for domestic use.
- Change water regularly in vases, pet containers, plant saucers.