Zika virus reaches Haiti

Zika virus reaches Haiti

Thursday, January 14, 2016

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PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) — The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) has confirmed the first case of the Zika Virus in Haiti.

PAHO’s Communicable Disease and Health Analysis director Marcos Espinal, who made the announcement yesterday, warned that there are many people who will contract Zika without knowing it.

But he said there was no need for alarm.

"The Zika virus isn’t a cause to go crazy. The diagnosis is for monitoring. The main thing here is to control the vectors (mosquitoes). The virus shouldn’t cause alarm among the population."

He said the main thing in this situation is to focus on prevention and education, trash collection and control the vectors in the water.

Espinal told a conference in the neighbouring Dominican Republic that the disease can be confusing and recommends treating the disease like dengue, "because that one kills".

Last month, health officials here set up an early warning system for detection in time of potential suspected cases of the virus.

The local transmission of Zika virus has been found in 14 Western Hemisphere countries and territories — Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, Suriname and Venezuela.

Since the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transports the virus is found throughout the region, except in continental Chile and Canada, PAHO said it is likely that outbreaks will occur in other countries that have not yet reported any cases.

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