Delay pregnancies, health ministry urges as Zika cases climb
The Health Ministry has renewed calls for Jamaicans to delay pregnancies in light of the risks to unborn children of mothers infected with the Zika Virus.
The Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito and can also be sexually transmitted.
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, today disclosed that two pregnant women are among the 16 confirmed cases of Zika in Jamaica.
At the same time, there have been more than 1,300 suspected cases.
IN PHOTO: A health worker attends to a child with microcephaly in Puerto Rico
In the meantime, Tufton, said the women have recovered and are being monitored by the health ministry.
Zika has been linked to microcephaly, a birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads.
Zik-V has also been linked the Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS), a rapid-onset muscle weakness caused by the immune system damaging the peripheral nervous system.
Tufton said Jamaicans must ensure that they do what’s necessary to avoid becoming infected with Zika.
He said too that the health ministry has been preparing of an increase in illnesses linked to Zika.
IN PHOTO: Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton
The health minister says the ministry will be stepping up its intervention initiative for pregnant women, their partners and those who develop severe illness such as GBS.
Among other things, Tufton says the ministry will continue to monitor pregnant women at the community level throughout their pregnancies and provide them with educational support.
He also says the ministry will provide 20,000 bed nets over the next six months to all pregnant women who visit antenatal clinics.