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Ten countries report cases of ZIKV, travelling Jamaicans urged to protect themselves

Published:Monday | December 14, 2015 | 12:18 PMJerome Reynolds, Staff Reporter
ZIKV symptoms are similar to dengue and chikungunya and include fever, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis, headache, weakness, rash, and swelling of the lower limbs.

The Ministry of Health is encouraging Jamaicans who travel to countries now being affected by the Zika Virus (ZIKV) to take steps to protect themselves from being infected.

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

Director of Health Promotion and Protection in the health ministry, Dr Sonia Copeland, says persons who travel to these countries should use mosquito repellents, sleep under a mosquito net, and avoid being outside, among other precautionary measures.

 

Director of Health Promotion and Protection in the health ministry, Dr Sonia Copeland

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

Its 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 says there is no specific treatment for the Zika virus.

She is encouraging 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 asprin as this could cause health complications.

 

Dr Sonia Copeland

Copeland was speaking this morning on Independent Talk on Power 106 FM.

The government has stepped up its public education and mitigation activities as the Ministry of Health has said that it is likely that the zika virus will reach Jamaica.