Caribbean health ministers are keeping a close eye on a winged insect that could spell trouble if not eradicated.

Last year, the bite of an infected Aedes Aegypt mosquito caused an outbreak of chikungunya (Chic V) virus that spread throughout many islands in the region.

The bite caused severe joint pain that, in some cases, lasted weeks and months.

This year the same insect is transmitting the Zika virus. Victims may suffer mild to moderate symptoms, including fever, headache, rash and muscle and joint pain. 

As in Chic V, there is no vaccine to treat the virus once transmitted.

The virus has spread from Africa to the Americas with 15 cases confirmed in Brazil and one each in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

The Zika virus is named after the Ugandan forest where it was first identified in 1947, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Trinidad and Tobago's Ministry of Health has issued a public advisory, warning residents to be aware of the virus and to empty containers of standing water, a typical breeding site.

"We have to vigilant in eradicating the mosquito from our yards and homes," said Clive Tilluckdharry, principal medical officer  in environmental health in Trinidad and Tobago's Ministry of Health.

Jamaica has implemented a five-point control program that includes fining people who fail to follow precautions regarding the removal of breeding sites.

Health officials in the British Virgin Islands and St. Kitts and Nevis also asked the public to be vigilant by inspecting their premises for mosquito breeding sites.

Comments
JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI