Tobago health officials mount response after Zika case confirmed

The Division of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is reporting its first confirmed case of the Zika virus in Tobago. This case is a pregnant female in her mid-30s, who accessed care on June 14 at the Scarborough General Hospital for signs and symptoms of the Zika virus.

The Division has mounted an immediate response through the Tobago Public Health Emergency Response Team (TPHERT). Surveillance continues, as well as measures to control the Aedes aegypti mosquito population, the vector that spreads the Zika virus.

The Division is reminding everyone to take measures to avoid being bitten by the mosquito.

“Awareness and being proactive is one of the best ways we can avoid contracting the Zika virus,” County Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) Dr. Vishwanath Partapsingh said.

“We have been preparing for the virus in Tobago, and we continue our programme of educating the public, as well as vector control, to minimise the chances of the virus spreading.

“The public has an important role to support these efforts by taking steps to avoid being bitten and by removing possible breeding sites.”

Such precautions include using properly secured bed nets, and wearing light-coloured clothing that covers your arms and legs. The use of insect repellent containing 20 per cent DEET as an active ingredient is also recommended.

It is also important to dispose of all unwanted containers or other items that can collect water and serve as mosquito-breeding sites, and tightly seal all water storage containers, including tanks, barrels and buckets, with a mosquito-proof covering.

The public is also reminded to support by clearing drains and guttering to allow the free flow of water, and to empty and scrub all water vases frequently, or consider using dirt or sand instead of water to support flowers.

The Division remains committed to securing the health of the Tobago population.

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