Following the confirmation of three cases of the Zika virus in Barbados on January 14, the Ministry of Health is awaiting the results on a further 27 samples that were sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad for confirmatory testing.
As it continues to monitor the disease, the Ministry of Health is encouraging members of the public to take the necessary precautions to prevent themselves from being bitten by mosquitoes.
This warning is especially relevant for pregnant women and women of child-bearing age, due to reports of an increased risk of giving birth to babies whose head circumference is less than expected for age and sex.
Protective measures which residents of Barbados are advised to follow include sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net; wearing tops with long sleeves and long pants, especially during the hours of highest mosquito activity (morning and late afternoon); and using mosquito repellents with DEET applied according to manufacturers??? instructions.
Members of the public are also strongly advised to take steps to reduce mosquito breeding by removing potential mosquito breeding sites such as discarded containers, coconut shells, and other places where water can be collected.
The Ministry of Health???s Environmental Health Department is intensifying its vector control programme through fogging of high risk areas for mosquito breeding, house to house inspections and other community mobilisation activities.
The Ministry has reminded the public that controlling mosquito breeding is a shared responsibility and it is therefore imperative that everyone plays his or her part.