Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
Residents of the Virgin Islands are asked to remain vigilant and to support preventative measures to reduce the impact of Zika virus.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Irad Potter said to date the BVI has not had any confirmed cases, but that the Zika virus is present in the Americas.
Dr. Potter said “We know that we have the vector Aedes aegypti that transmits Zika. We know that we have had dengue fever and Chikungunya outbreaks in the past and we can expect that we may have Zika virus.”
Dr. Potter cautioned residents against waiting until the first case of Zika virus is diagnosed to be concerned. He said reductions in the indexes of aedes mosquitoes will reduce the risk of transmission of Zika and that everyone must do their part in reducing the presence of these mosquitoes by eliminating their breeding sites. He said persons must also minimise their risk of being bitten by using mosquito repellent and wearing long sleeved clothing.
Dr. Potter appealed to pregnant woman and women of child bearing age to be vigilant as the Zika Virus has been suspected to cause brain defect in babies.
The Chief Medical Officer said, “Persons who are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant should be extra vigilant about encouraging households to reduce the source of mosquito breeding in and around their homes, workplaces and where they go to play. It is important that as a community we come together to reduce and minimise the risk of the possible impact of Zika on our people.”
Dr. Potter said the Environmental Health Division will continue to conduct fogging exercises in the various communities but that it is everyone’s responsibility to control mosquito breeding sites around their homes.
Residents are reminded to conduct weekly surveillance activities for breeding sites which include proper disposal of unwanted containers that can hold water, disposing garbage on a regular basis and opening drains where water could settle. Persons are also encouraged to thoroughly scrub the sides of containers to destroy mosquito eggs, keep the yard clean and clear of weeds and store containers not being used faced down.
The ZIKA virus has been confirmed in 12 Caribbean countries including Barbados, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, the US Virgin Islands and Jamaica.