Zika Virus-MoH on high alert
Zika Virus Disease is considered a Public Health emergency. There have been reports of an outbreak of Zika Virus in the Central and Southern America and recently in Africa; Cape Verde and South Africa recently recorded a case. It is reported that the number of affected countries might increase over time.

It is to this effect that the Ministry of Health held a press briefing to give an update on Zika Virus Disease and the country’s preparedness. Speaking at the press conference, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Ms El- Halabi said the ministry is closely monitoring the situation and that systems are in place to provide the necessary health services for the control and prevention of any suspected Zika virus cases. Halabi added that the Ministry has reactivated the response teams and have engaged other stakeholders such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) Centre for Disease Control (CDC), UPENN and Civilization Authority to seek technical support.

For his part, Public Health Specialist, Dr. Nesredin Jami said the ministry continues to monitor the Zika fever situation globally and regionally and continues to educate the public as the new findings unfold. Moreover, Dr. Nesredin advised the public to wear protective clothing, use insect repellents at all times and to be cautious when travelling. He mentioned that they have a public health emergency strategy in place in which they are working on with CDC to assist and support them on. “We are also working with University of Botswana to continuously assess the types of Aedes mosquito we have in Botswana,” he said. Nesredin said that the most common symptoms of Zika Virus Disease are fever, rash, muscle and joint pain, headache and reddish discoloration of the eye. He said that Zika virus is transmitted from person to person through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.

Concerning the technical expertise, the acting World Health Organization Representative, Kentse Moakofhi, highlighted that they are closely supporting countries and providing training. She said that they have not yet put in place travelling restrictions but ‘‘we strongly advise people travelling to affected countries to protect themselves’’ she added.

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