With the Zika Virus getting closer to Dominica, the Ministry of Health is putting measures in place to prevent its introduction into the island.
Senior Environmental Health Officer, Clara Charles, said at a press conference at the Dominica Festivals Committee’s (DFC) office on Wednesday, that security measures will be placed at the country’s ports of entry.
“As we know the Ferry comes in from Martinique and from the other French countries on a daily basis, we also have visitors coming from Barbados and other Caribbean countries and Puerto Rico for the Carnival season, and even from the US (United States) also,” she said.
She noted that port health officers are stationed and are available when planes or vessels arrive in Dominica.
“They will receive the necessary documentation whether any persons are suspected of being ill on the vessel or the aircraft,” Charles explained. “They will also be interviewing individuals who come from areas that are affected with the Zika Virus.”
The virus has been reported in many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean including Martinique, Barbados, St Martin, Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe. It is spread through the Aedes Aegypti mosquito which is present here and according to Charles there are areas known for the high breeding of mosquitoes on the island.
“If there is anyone who comes into Dominica with the presence of the Zika Virus, then its very easy for it to become an explosion and spread out just as we had our experience with Chikungunya in 2014,” she said.
She noted that increased premises surveillance has already started for the Aedes Aegypti mosquito.
“We also have started educational programs throughout our schools, our health centres, for the public,” she stated. “We have also started fogging activities in our areas of high mosquito infestation.”
She said fogging was done in Marigot including that of Douglas-Charles Airport on Wednesday morning.
Symptoms of the Zika Virus include fever, rash, muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and sometimes red eyes.