There are media reports that the mosquito-borne virus – Zika – is now in the Caribbean.
The report of the first case of Zika in the region comes one month after the first cases of the Zika were reported in Brazil.
According to the reports, a 12 year old girl in Puerto Plata on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic has contracted the virus.
Zika is similar to dengue with symptoms including fever, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis, headache, weakness, rash and swelling of the lower limbs.
It’s spread by the same mosquitoes that transmit Chikungunya.
But the head of the Caribbean Public Health Agency, CARPHA, Dr. James Hospedales says unlike, Chick-V, the Caribbean as a whole is in a much better position to handle the Zika virus.
He says the region has learnt lessons from the poor response to Chikungunya.
Last year’s outbreak of the Chikungunya virus cost the region dearly.
In Jamaica, alone the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica indicated that the impact of Chik V on the country’s productivity was no less than almost 7-billion dollars.
Health Minister, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, came under fire over his Ministry’s poor response to the mosquito borne virus.
Now its another virus that people are fearing — Zika or Zik V — and its carried by the same Aedes aegypti mosquito.
Dr. Hospedales says the region is in a far better position to battle the new virus.
But while he says the region is in a better position to fight Zika … he admits that that ‘better position’ is still not good enough.
Dr. Hospedales says Zika is mild compared to Chick-v, but it still needs to be taken seriously.