Zika Virus Update for PNG

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by Vasinatta Yama – EM TV News, Port Moresby

Do not panic, but take note.

That is the message from the National Department of Health and the World Health Organization on the Zika virus outbreak in some parts of the world.

The National response team, headed by Dr Baris Pavlin from WHO, and Barry Ropa, NDoH Surveillance and am Emergency Response Officer, are taking immediate actions to rapidly increase surveillance on the case.

Expecting mothers or women of child bearing age are vulnerable to this disease.

The good news is no case has been detected in Papua New Guinea as yet.

However, PNG has the same mosquito that can carry dengue [dengy], yellow fever, chikungunya virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.

WHO and the Health department technical surveillance team said that the outbreak was declared by WHO as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, only because of the recent infections in Brazil.

It has been associated with an increase in the birth of babies with microcephaly, meaning a baby is born with a small head or brain. Zika virus is present in Pacific. The first case was detected in Micronesia in 2007.

PNG is at risk of having the virus.

The virus is passing from a mosquito bite from an infected person on to another person.

WHO confirmed that it is a mild illness and people will not know that they are sick.

To prevent it, always sleep under a mosquito net during the day because it bites at that time.

Always use insects repellent.

The symptoms include fever, skin rash, muscle and joint pain, red eyes tiredness and headache.

Even though there is no vaccine or treatment, the symptoms can be treated with common pain and fever medicines.   

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