Zika threat

THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services is leaving no stone unturned with regards to the threat of Zika at the Rio Olympics in September, briefing the Fiji contingent and warning travellers to Brazil of the threats.

Health Minister Jone Usamate said they were also wary of the possibility of Team Fiji members carrying Zika back into the country upon their return.

“The risk of importation of Zika by returning athletes and visitors is acknowledged and has been stressed to the medical team and athletes. The ministry envisages further discussions on health protection with the Rio Olympics medical team leading up to the date of departure.”

Zika is primarily spread by the bite of the aedes aegypti mosquito which is active during the day.

And all travellers to Brazil and the Americas have been advised to cover up with long sleeved, light coloured clothing, long pants and skirts and remember to use insect repellent throughout the day and evening.

Athletes and tourists staying in airconditioned accommodation with running water are generally well protected from mosquito bites while in their room.

World Health Organization representative in Fiji, Dr Liu Yunguo stressed that prevention was key in the fight against the spread of Zika.

“All people travelling to countries with known Zika virus transmission should be vigilant and take the recommended measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites,” Dr Liu said.

“WHO recommends that repellents should contain DEET or Icaridin (also known as Picaridin) or IR 3535. These are the most common biologically active ingredients in insect repellents.”

“WHO recommends that all travellers to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and the Americas follow the travel advice provided by their health authorities. Pregnant women, whose unborn babies appear to be at the highest risk of the complications caused by Zika virus, should consult their doctor before travelling.”

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