Zika is Now Endemic on Caye Caulker
Earlier this week, we told you about an increase in the number of persons visiting the health facility on Caye Caulker with symptoms similar to that of zika. So far, there have been thirty confirmed cases of zika in Belize, ten of tested positive from samples from the island. News Five spoke with Regional Health Manager, Doctor Javier Zuniga who says that the disease has now been classified as an endemic on Caye Caulker.
Dr. Javier Zuniga, Regional Manager, Central Health Region
“We had an outbreak of zika in Caye Caulker and that outbreak let to interventions for vector control activities which we are still doing at the moment. And now Caye Caulker…we have classified it as being endemic to zika, which means that the disease is now there and it will be present for years to come. We will have sporadic outbreaks just like dengue so in some seasons, you might have an increase in the number of cases and other seasons you might just don’t have a lot of cases. So now people who are appearing with these symptoms, we know now that it is zika now that is affecting the community. As you know the risk group are pregnant women so as you well said, we are targeting pregnant women. And the basic thing is that…for one, we cannot tell a woman not to get pregnant. We would like to ask them to delay pregnancy and if they are planning to get pregnant to please visit their health facility as soon as possible. This is so that we could monitor them very closely during the entire pregnancy. And for those who plan to get pregnant or are pregnant, we are also doing a lot of health education to try to prevent them from getting zika. Some of these health education sessions would include one; we are now embarking on giving out insect repellants and primarily for mosquito; bed nets if they live in an area that is prone to having a lot of mosquitoes. We also ask the community to assist in getting rid of all the water-holding containers that may be around the properties. And if you can afford to put screens on your doors and windows, please do so.”