Media personnel briefed on Zika prevention and control

Thursday, October 27, 2016

World Health Organisation (WHO), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, on Wednesday organised a press briefing on Zika virus prevention and control.

Zika virus is not in The Gambia but officials said it is seen in the sub-region hence the need to be on the alert and to strengthen the country’s preparedness.

Zika virus was first seen in monkeys in Uganda in 1947 and in 1952 it was seen in humans in the same country.  It is transmitted by the Aedes mosquitos.  As time went by, the virus was seen in Americas, Asia and elsewhere in Africa.

Dembo Fatty, deputising for the director of Health Promotion and Education Directorate, said The Gambia is free of the Zika virus as no single case of it has been detected in the country.

In spite of this, he said the health authorities are not relenting in their preventive efforts.

Pa Modou Faal, former president of the Association of Health Journalist (AOHJ), said journalist are very important partners as far are as sensitisation is concern, specially of emerging diseases like Zika.

Mass Joof of the Health Promotion and Education Directorate said the symptoms of Zika are similar to other virus infections such as dengue, fever, skin rashes and headache.

“These symptoms are usually mild and last for 2-7 days,” he said.  “Zika virus is usually relatively mild and requires no specific treatment and people sick with the virus should get plenty of rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain and fever with common medicines.”

Mr Joof said prevention and control of Zika entails reducing mosquitoes through source reduction and reducing contact between mosquitoes and people.

Author: Isatou Senghore-Njie