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Mosquito feeding

Dengue, a mosquito-borne viral disease, killed about five students in St. VIncent and the Grenadines between 2020 and January 2021.

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Minister of Health, Sen. Luke Browne is expected to hold a press conference on Wednesday to discuss the response of his ministry as St. Vincent and the Grenadines records its first case of Zika, a mosquito-borne infection.

There has been an unproven but strongly suspected link between Zika, which is spreading across the Americas, and microcephaly, a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age.

Babies with microcephaly often have smaller brains that might not have developed properly.

Browne told Parliament Tuesday evening that his Ministry had received that evening confirmation from Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad that a sample sent from St. Vincent and the Grenadines had tested positive for Zika.

Browne, however, told lawmakers and media audiences that the person who was diagnosed with the virus has fully recovered.

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He said the confirmation of the virus in SVG takes his ministry’s action plan to a new level.

The health minister urged residents of the country to take steps to protect themselves again Zika and otter mosquito-borne illnesses and to eliminate places where mosquitos can breed.

He further urged the public to note the mosquito fogging schedule and to open their windows and doors in their homes to increase the effectiveness of the fogging.

Zika is a viral disease characterised by fever, rash and bodyaches. It is one virus of the viral family that includes Yellow Fever, West Nile, Chikungunya and Dengue.

But, unlike some of those viruses, there is no vaccine to prevent Zika, nor is there medicine to treat the infection.

Zika is commanding worldwide attention because of an increased incidence of microcephaly in regions with increased Zika infection.