ZIKA Sounding Alarms

With the spread of Zika virus, Ministry of Health has issued a warning to all concerned officials to take measures and keep it at bay

Feb. 8, 2016, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol 09,No14,February 06,2016 (Magh 22,2072)

As the Zika virus is spreading alarmingly in Latin American countries, Asian governments, including Nepal, have issued advisories in a bid to contain the spread of the disease.

According to World Health Organization experts, the disease could be linked to birth defects and can cause temporary paralysis. According to WHO, no Zika case has been confirmed anywhere in Asia so far.

“Although no Zika case is confirmed, the government has issued orders for all the health posts along Nepal-India border to be vigilant on the incident,” said spokesperson Ministry of Health. Health authorities have asked travelers from South and Central America, who display symptoms such as fever and rashes, to immediately report to health centers. "The move was imperative as it was not practical to conduct public health screenings at national gateways,” said spokesperson.

"The virus is difficult to detect and there is no quick point-of-care test which can be used," he said.

The government has issued a safety advisory urging women to try to avoid traveling to Brazil and other affected countries during pregnancy, and advised all travelers to the area to use caution. It suggested wearing long sleeves and pants, using mosquito sprays and avoid leaving out buckets, empty gardening pots and other containers that can catch water, and report to medical institutions in case of developing suspected symptoms.

The ministry has stressed the control of the spread of Aedes mosquitoes that transmit dengue and the Zika virus and breed in clean water. "Community awareness plays an instrumental role in this regard. There is a need for greater awareness amongst community," he said.


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