There have been no new confirmed cases of the Zika virus reported to the Ministry of Health in the last 12 weeks. Despite this, the Ministry is urging Barbadians to remain vigilant and do their utmost to reduce the mosquito population.
In a statement released today, the Ministry warned: “Although the number of suspected cases has declined in recent weeks, it is likely that an increase may occur as the rainy season progresses.”
As a consequence, Ministry officials advised householders to continue to take necessary measures, including securely covering domestic water storage containers such as buckets and drums; properly discarding old tyres; and ensuring that underground tanks and soak-aways are well sealed.
The Ministry is also continuing its programme, including fogging of high risk areas and regular inspection of premises by the staff of the Environmental Health Department.
It has reminded householders and property owners that under the Health Services Control of Mosquitoes Regulations 1970, Cap. 44, they may be prosecuted if found breeding mosquitoes on their premises.
In order to reduce exposure to mosquito bites, residents are advised to use insect repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon, eucalyptus or IR3535. They should also wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors, use air conditioners or window screens and sleep under mosquito nets.
Symptoms of Zika include fever, rash, conjunctivitis (red eye), headache and temporary arthritis, mainly in the smaller joints of the hands and feet. Symptoms generally are mild and can last between two and seven days.