THE Ministry of Health’s continued warnings against Saint Lucians becoming complacent about the Zika virus should not be taken lightly.
One just needs to take an example from the Brazilian authorities’ massive efforts to stem the current outbreak in that South American nation to see the human and social impact of Zika.
To date, over 3,500 microcephaly cases have been reported in Brazil and that nation’s government has taken the decision to send out over 200,000 Brazilian troops to inspect homes where conditions that encourage Zika spread might be present as part of an eradication exercise.
Microcephaly, or small heads, results when babies are born to mothers who had a Zika virus infection during their first trimester. Babies born with microcephaly are also at risk of having brain damage. As such, women are being advised to delay getting pregnant to stem the rising numbers of microcephaly.
Carried by the Aedesaegypti mosquito, other symptoms of Zika include skin rash.
The Brazilian government has another problem on their hands as Brazil will be hosting this year’s Summer Olympics. As such, there are fears that travellers might think twice about visiting that country amidst the current Zika outbreak there.
While the Zika virus has found itself in a few Caribbean and Latin American countries, there has been no reported case in Saint Lucia. However, the growing fear is that it will. That is why health officials seem to be leaving no stone unturned to share the seriousness of the message with the populace.
This is why the usual appeal that people keep their surroundings clean and free from old tyres, drums and other receptacles that harbour the breedingmosquitoes becomes even more crucial.
Thus far, many Brazilian parents fear even appearing to appear on television to talk about their children born with microcephaly. Some have even given their children up for adoption.
It appears that the more these kinds of outbreaks happen, the more the message becomes clearer that we all need to take proactive measures to safeguard our lives and, in this case, the well-being of our progeny.
As such, every precaution needs to be taken early enough to save the irreparable consequences that can follow if we do nothing to keep the Zika virus at bay.