The Belize Ministry of Health (MOH) is spraying all schools in San Pedro and Cay Caulker for mosquitoes this week in order to prevent the spreading of the Zika virus. The MOH is very concerned about the Zika virus spreading as the disease has now been classified as an endemic on Caye Caulker.
This does not mean that there is a Zika ‘epidemic’ in Caye Caulker; it only means that the disease is now present on the island and that it will be present for years to come, according to Dr. Javier Zuniga, Regional Manager, Central Health Region.
Belize is the only country in the region with a very low rate of Zika infection as health officials have been implementing struck prevention measures around the country. Spraying the schools for mosquitoes is just another step in Belize’s Zika prevention plan. The San Pedro Town Council is conducting mosquito spraying on a daily basis, but now individuals with foggers from the MOH are being seen spraying homes around neighborhoods on the island.
San Pedro Roman Catholic School being sprayed for mosquitos
Zika is Now Endemic to Caye Caulker
There have been 30 confirmed cases of Zika in Belize of which ten positive tests have come from Caye Caulker that experience an outbreak of the virus not so long ago. Dr. Javier Zuniga explains that, “We will have sporadic outbreaks just like dengue, so in some seasons you might have an increase in the number of Zika cases and other seasons you might just don’t have a lot of cases. So now people who are appearing with symptoms, we know now that it is Zika, now that it is affecting the community.”
High risk groups of the virus are pregnant women and the MOH is conducting a lot of health education to try to prevent them from getting Zika. Some of these health education sessions include the giving out insect repellants for mosquito; bed nets if they live in an area that is prone to having a lot of mosquitoes and assisting the community in getting rid of all the water-holding containers that may be around the properties.
“If you can afford to put screens on your doors and windows, please do so,” commented Dr. Zuniga.