Categorized | National News

Dr. Urges Bahamians to Get Tested for Zika

In the wake of the Zika virus now reaching The Bahamas, renowned Paediatrician Dr. Carlos Thomas urged Bahamians this week to take the necessary precautions to avoid this disease and to also get testedunder the least suspicion.

With already four cases of the disease confirmed and 83 suspected cases of which eight are pregnant women, it puts the country on high alert. But Dr. Thomas, in an interview with the Bahama Journal said while there is no cause for panic, he is still very concerned.

“The Zika virus infection is a rather huge public health problem, because of the implications of the infections. We now know that during pregnancy, if a woman becomes infected her unborn developing child can have significant brain defects. And you’ve heard the term microcephaly, which means the baby’s head is small at birth, which also means the brain is small and did not develop normally. Now that has significant implications on the child’s growth and development, on their learning and productivity,” Dr. Thomas said.

According to Dr. Thomas, individuals can be affected unknowingly due to the subtlety of the disease; as the virus he said can be mistaken for an ordinary flu.

In light of this, he advises Bahamians not to shy away from testing for the disease; noting that pregnant women in particular, are all required to be tested.

Just recently it was discovered that the disease is not only transmitted via the aedes agypti mosquito, but also through sexual intercourse; and with this being the case, Dr. Thomas offered advice.

“We recommend especially for men who have travelled to countries where it’s endemic and certainly for women who are pregnant, the recommendation is that their partners should wear condoms during intercourse to try and prevent the passage. Because some of these men may be without symptoms and they can potentially pass this on to their unsuspecting partner,” he said.

Using the old adage, ‘prevention is better than cure’, the doctor said everyone, including men, pregnant women and children should all take the same precautions.

“We know that the mosquito primarily bites in the day time, so if your child has to go out in the yard to play, or has to go to school, leave the house, give them long sleeves and insect repellents. Protect yourselves by trying to eliminate the breathing ground of mosquitoes; so pots, pans, plants, make sure your screens are intact,” he said.

“Just be very cautious,” he added.



Written by Jones Bahamas

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