Three suspected of Zika virus
Three people suspected of having Zika after returning from overseas are being tested for the virus.
According to a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health and Seniors, results are “pending” and when information arrives it will be shared.
The spokeswoman noted that four other suspected cases reported to the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit in the past three months had come back negative.
“The Department of Health is most concerned about the possibility of Zika being imported to Bermuda from an area where individuals have travelled,” she said.
“It is of special importance that pregnant women are protected from the virus.
“Generally, we should all make every effort to avoid mosquito bites abroad, and wear repellent for three weeks after return to protect the community, even if feeling well. This is because four out of five people who carry the virus have no symptoms.
“When travelling generally, everyone should protect against mosquito bites, especially pregnant women, and report any illness to a doctor.”
She added that women who are trying to get pregnant or are pregnant should avoid affected areas, if possible.
But she stressed that prevention of bites is key to preventing onward transmission.
“People should call Vector Control at 278-5397 if they are being bitten or if they see a potential breeding area.
“Vector Control's team is always checking properties to control mosquitoes to reduce the risk of onward transmission through mosquito bites.
“When there are suspected cases of Zika, the Department of Health contacts those persons and gives them advice on preventing mosquito bites and other precautions.”
And she added: “Vector Control focuses extra attention on a three-mile radius of the area in which the person lives.”
According to the spokeswoman, the island's “robust” Vector Control programme aims to reduce mosquito breeding sites all over the island.
The public can assist by tipping out any amount of standing water, even very small amounts, from flower pots, buckets, tires and other debris.
In addition, the public are asked to:
• wear mosquito repellent, both at home and abroad, choosing EPA-registered repellents with DEET, Picardin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin), oil of eucalyptus, or IR3535.
• wear light-coloured clothing that covers the arms and legs in order to protect against mosquito bites
• use screens on doors and windows
• travellers visiting a place where Zika is known to circulate are advised to wear mosquito repellent during their trip and for three weeks after returning home
• in addition to using repellent, travellers visiting a place where Zika is known to circulate are advised to take precautions against sexual transmission for six months, even if asymptomatic
• women who have travelled in a Zika area or whose sexual partner has travelled in a Zika area should seek medical advice before becoming pregnant
For more information, see the updated fact sheet under “Related Media”, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=770E9t5fQmY, live stream CITV on your computer at www.gov.bm/whats-on-citv or watch CITV from 8am to 9am, 4pm to 5pm, 8.30pm to 9.30pm and 4am to 5am, or visit www.gov.bm/zika-virus. The travel clinic operates by appointment only and can be reached at 278-6460.