The Zika virus which is a mosquito borne virus has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization because of its association with microcephaly which is when babies are born with abnormally small heads.
Currently there are a total of five CARICOM member states that have been affected by the virus and although Belize has not had any confirmed cases, Prime Minister Dean Barrow along with other CARICOM heads of government took up a significant portion of the 27th inter-sessional meeting held in Placencia to address the issue.
Chairman of CARICOM, Hon. Dean Barrow, announced a series of actions that CARICOM Member States will take to confront the Zika virus that is currently affecting the Region.
Hon. Dean Barrow- Chairman CARICOM
“On Zika we endorsed a course of action to address the spread of the disease and other diseases born by the way of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. The course of action includes continuous public education. Actions to implement measures that ports of entry, health facilities, schools, private enterprises such as hotel and tourism facilities, factories, other businesses. Concentrating on their surrounding environments in an effort to try and do whatever is necessary, fogging, prevention to render them free of Aedes Aegypti breeding. We're also agreed that we will designate the second week of May as Caribbean Mosquito Awareness week. Governments are being asked to look at an at least temporary reduction of import tax on essential public health supplies such as insecticide treated bed nets, insect propellant, insecticides for the duration of the epidemic in the region; nobody knows how long it will last."
As for precautionary measures being taken by Belize as an individual country considering that the Zika virus is transmitted by a family of mosquito called the aedes aegypti which is very prevalent in our country annually, Belize has been taking steps to prepare in the event Zika appears in our country by holding several sensitization meeting throughout the country.
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