PROVIDENCIALES, TCI -- The ministry of health has reported that eight new cases of the zika virus have been reported in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), including seven on the island of Grand Turk. These persons were seen during the period of October 14 to December 7. This brings the total number of cases of zika reported in the TCI to 24 –19 males and 5 females.
As seen throughout the region, increasing incidence of zika is common during the rainy season as was recently experienced on Grand Turk.
Zika is a viral disease with symptoms that are similar to other mosquito borne illnesses such as dengue and chikungunya. These include rash, mild fever, pink eye, muscle or joint pain, and general malaise. However, many persons will not experience symptoms but will still be able spread the disease if they are bitten.
While symptoms can be mild, or even non-existent, one concern is that the disease can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy and cause complications to the infant such as microcephaly, a birth defect where a baby's head is smaller than expected for its age and sex.
Unfortunately, there is no specific medication to treat zika and there are currently no vaccines to prevent it. If you suspect you have zika, please seek medical attention at your nearest clinic.
Symptoms of zika can be managed by:
• Getting plenty of rest
• Drinking fluids to prevent dehydration
• Taking medicines, such as acetaminophen, or paracetamol to relieve fever and pain.
• Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aleve or Ibroprofen until dengue has been ruled out.
Since zika is primarily transmitted by the bite of the Aedes species mosquito, the best way to prevent zika is to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Interventions to eliminate mosquito breeding sites and to prevent mosquito bites are most effective. The general public therefore plays an important role in zika reduction/prevention.