Country registers 7 Zika cases, youngest infected is 8-year-old

zikaPHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten has registered seven laboratory confirmed cases of Zika virus, the Health Ministry’s Collective Prevention Services (CPS) announced on Tuesday.

Of the seven confirmed cases, five are women, one is a man and one is a young boy. The youngest woman is 36-years-old and the oldest is 65. The youngest boy is eight-years-old and the oldest man is 52. The areas where the individuals are residing are Saunders, St. John’s Estate, Cul de Sac and Cole Bay.

CPS on Tuesday reiterated its message that residents and businesses need to take measures to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. CPS called on residents and visitors to wear light coloured clothing at dusk; long sleeved shirts and pants and to use mosquito repellent to prevent being bitten by a mosquito that could possibly be carrying dengue, Zika or chikungunya.

Dengue fever, Zika and chikungunya are transmitted by the female vector Aedes Aegypti mosquito. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is distinguished by its markings. The body of the mosquito has alternate black and white horizontal stripes. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito lays her eggs in clear (clean) stagnant water. Within eight days the mosquito can complete its life cycle from egg, to larvae to pupae and to adult mosquito.

CPS urges persons to keep their homes, yards, neighbourhoods and work environments free from potential mosquito breeding sites. “Actively destroy or dispose of tin cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that collect and hold water. Do not allow water to accumulate in the saucers of flowerpots, cemetery urns/vases or in pet dishes for more than two days. Throw out the water and turn them over every time it collects water,” CPS advised.

“Check around construction sites or do-it-yourself improvements to ensure that proper backfilling and grading is realised to prevent drainage problems which can be a source for standing water. Empty all construction containers such as blue tanks, buckets, paint cans, etc.”

Mosquitoes can be kept out of the home by keeping windows, doors and porches tightly screened (16-18 mesh). Insects that do get into structures can be eliminated with a fly swatter or an aerosol space spray containing synergised pyrethrum.
Additional information about dengue fever, Zika and chikungunya prevention measures or to report mosquito breeding sites call CPS at tel. 542-2078 or 542-3003 or the emergency number 550-2255 (550-CALL).

Source: Daily Herald