University Message About The Zika Virus

St. George’s University takes note of the identification of Zika virus in several countries in Central and South America as well in Grenada and the Caribbean region. As of July 5, there were nine confirmed cases of Zika in Grenada. The Ministry of Health continues to put procedures in place to combat exposure, and through its Vector Control Division is continuing its mosquito fogging exercises aimed at reducing the incidence of mosquitoes and minimizing the impact of mosquito borne diseases.

There is a nationwide appeal for residents to take an active role in keeping the environment clean to eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites. Care should be taken to remove standing water from old tires, tins, coconut shells, blocked drains, etc.

Zika virus belongs to the same family of viruses as dengue and Chikungunya and is predominantly transmitted via the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito but may also be transmitted via blood transfusion, from mother to unborn baby and also through sexual intercourse. It takes 3 to 12 days from exposure to onset of signs and symptoms which are fever, rash, muscle pain, headaches: similar to dengue. If you get these symptoms go to the SGU clinic. A blood sample may be taken for diagnosis. There is no anti-viral treatment but symptoms can be alleviated.

Ae aegypti  are day biting mosquitoes and to avoid infection wear long clothing and or repellants. Those repellants with DEET are the most effective  (DEET is effective on clothing even if you are reluctant to put it on your skin). Use of insecticide in your accommodation would be useful. If you do not have screens on the windows use a bed net at night.

Pregnant women or women thinking of becoming pregnant should keep themselves aware of the CDC information about Zika and pregnancy and guide themselves accordingly.

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