Barbados reports suspected cases of Zika and H1N1 viruses

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday January 11, 2016 – Health authorities in Barbados have reported eight suspected cases of the H1N1 and Zika viruses.

Minister of Health John Boyce said samples have been sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency for confirmatory testing.

And he has cautioned the population not to panic.

The minister said that although he is aware that members of the public would be concerned whenever a new disease emerged, Barbadians should use simple measures to prevent mosquito breeding around their homes, business places and communities.

“The fact that the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the Zika virus, is the same mosquito that spreads dengue fever and chikungunya, we are all very familiar with the prevention and control measures which we need to undertake…Inspect your surroundings to search out and remove mosquito breeding places on your properties. The Ministry of Health recommends that this should be done once per week,” Boyce said.

The Zika virus was reported in the Caribbean region for the first time in June 2015. It is a mild febrile viral illness that is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes aegypti mosquito. Illness resulting from infection is usually mild, and it is not considered to be as severe as Dengue Fever or Chikungunya.

The H1N1 virus, commonly referred to as the swine flu virus, is transmitted easily from person to person via droplets and small particles produced when infected people cough or sneeze. Symptoms are similar to those of the seasonal flu and include: cough, fever, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue.

Meantime, Boyce said that to combat Zika and other mosquito-borne illnesses, the Environmental Health Department would continue to carry out prevention and control activities, such as house to house inspections, surveillance at ports of entry and fogging in high risk areas.

In addition, the ministry will continue its epidemiological surveillance to collect and analyze data from various sources, including private and public sector facilities, on a weekly basis to gather information for planning a response.


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