By Loshaun Dixon
Basseterre, St. Kitts-The presence of the Zika virus in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis was inevitable because of travel in and out of both islands, according to a top health official.
Deputy Chief Environmental Officer Jermaine Lake speaking on WINNFM’s Voices program on Monday, (Oct. 17) disclosed that the virus’ arrival to the shores of St. Kitts and Nevis was unavoidable.
“We couldn’t stop Zika…Eighty percent of the people who get infected with Zika do not get sick do not show any signs and we could not monitor everyone that was coming or going out of the country, and there was little doubt that Zika was coming here,” said Mr. Lake.
Lake added that the Federation was the last country in the hemisphere to report confirmed cases of Zika,’ he added.
“We had suspicions Zika was here but we did not have the laboratory confirmation.”
He noted that the illness is very mild and individuals who are infected can still live their lives as normal.
“Eighty percent of the people who get infected with Zika won’t get sick or show any signs and symptoms. The thing though is that Zika is a very mild illness and the 20% who do get it are able to go on with their regular lives during the course of the illness. The illness only lasts 3-7 days,” he declared.
Lake further disclosed some of the measures that are in place to help control the mosquito population.
“There is no need for panic or alarm. We could not stop it from coming to our shores but we have put measures in place to combat Zika and keep the mosquito population down,” he stated. “We have done thousands of visits it may not appear that way but we’ve done so. When the initial suspected cases popped up in Sandy Point, the officers went and did over 300 visits to residence in Sandy Point…we covered the entirety Sandy Point looking for mosquito breeding and anything that could facilitate mosquito breeding.”
He added that they also conducted trapping of the Mosquito eggs and the capturing of the adult mosquito.
The Environmental officer also revealed that fogging is another measure that will begin this weekend.
“We also do chemical control which most people know as fogging. We commence fogging this weekend and we will continue going forward for a while,” he said.
Lake revealed there are over 250 suspected cases of Zika in the Federation with five laboratory confirmed cases of the virus. He said there are over 200 suspected cases in St. Kitts and over 50 in Nevis.