According to the Pan American Health Organisation, there is increasing evidence of a causal relationship between microcephaly and other nuerological disorders and the Zika virus.

PAHO/WHO Representative to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Dr. Godfrey Xuereb, revealed today that the Emergency Committee established to examine the issue held its second meeting on March 8 and had advised that the clusters of microcephaly cases and other neurological disorders in some areas affected by the Zika virus continued to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

Dr. Xuereb said that the committee was provided with additional data from observational, comparative and experimental studies on the possible causal association between Zika, microcephaly and guillain-barre syndrome (GBS).

He added: ???The committee reinforced the need for further work to generate additional evidence on this association and to understand any inconsistencies in data from countries.???

The Committee agreed, he said, that attention should be given to ensure that women of childbearing age, and particularly pregnant women, had the necessary information and materials to reduce risk of exposure.

Dr. Xuereb was speaking at a ceremony at the Ministry of Health during which he presented 250 bed nets to Minister of Health John Boyce to be used by pregnant women in Barbados. He advised that they should be used particularly during the daytime since the mosquito that carried the Zika virus was most active during daylight.

Mr. Boyce thanked PAHO for the donation and revealed that the Ministry???s records indicated that there were now 323 suspected cases and 12 confirmed cases of the Zika virus in Barbados.

He reiterated that the Ministry had developed and disseminated guidelines to guide general practitioners, obstetricians and other health care providers in the clinical management of women who have the Zika virus during pregnancy.

Additionally, the Ministry was currently carrying out an Arborviral Disease Eradication Programme aimed at minimizing the mosquito population on the island.

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