Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Ten countries report cases of ZIKV; J'cans urged to protect themselves

Published:Tuesday | December 15, 2015 | 12:00 AM

The Ministry of Health has urged Jamaicans who travel to countries currently being affected by the zika virus (ZIKV) to take steps to protect themselves from infection.

At least 10 countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Suriname and Panama, have reported cases of the virus, which has been linked to serious health conditions in pregnant women and babies.

Dr Sonia Copeland, director of health promotion and protection in the health ministry, said persons who travel to these countries should use mosquito repellents, sleep under a mosquito net, and avoid being outside, among other precautionary measures.

The zika virus is transmitted by an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito - the same mosquito that transmits chikungunya and dengue.

The virus' symptoms are similar to dengue and chikungunya and include fever, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis, headache, weakness, rash, and swelling of the lower limbs.

Copeland, noting that there is no specific treatment for the zika virus, encouraged the public to use the right pain-management medication such as paracetamol drugs like Panadol.

She stresses that persons should avoid taking medication containing anti-inflammatory ingredients such as aspirin as this could cause health complications.