The deadly Zika virus has been transmitted by mosquito in St. Kitts and Nevis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday.
The development prompted the agency to urge travelers to the two-island nation to prevent themselves from getting mosquito bites. Mosquitoes in the area are spreading the disease to people, the CDC says.
Pregnant women are being advised not to travel to St. Kitts and Nevis because Zika can be spread from mother to fetus.
Three cases of the virus have been confirmed in St. Kitts and Nevis, the St. Kitts Nevis Observer reported, attributing the information to government officials.
Minister of Health Eugene Hamilton is calling on residents to make sure they do not have stagnant water or other potential breeding sites on their properties.
Cameron Wilkinson, medical chief of staff at JNF Hospital, told WINN FM radio that it should not be too much of a surprise that the disease has reached St. Kitts and Nevis because it has been found in neighboring countries.
“What is reassuring is the fact that for the majority of persons with the Zika virus, infections are very mild infections and there is no need for panic,” Wilkinson told the radio station.
Residents are not concerned because the ailment is under control, St. Kitts resident Saju Ng’alla told USA TODAY.
“Yes, so far we have had three cases, however, we are not worried it would be a problem,” said Ng’alla, who lives in Bird Rock on St. Kitts. “The government has taken steps to insure that residents are taking the necessary steps to contain it. People here are truly not worried about it.”
Travelers can prevent mosquito bites by:
• Covering exposed skin with clothing
• Eliminating standing water around the home
• Using insect repellent registered with the Environmental Protection Agency
• Wearing clothing and using outdoor gear treated with permethrin
• Staying in places with air conditioning and window and door screens
• Sleeping under a mosquito bed net
• Using condoms
Symptoms of the Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, according to the CDC. The virus can be fatal.
As of Sept. 21, there have been 3,358 cases in the United States and 19,777 in U.S. territories, the CDC reports. As of Sept. 22, 47 countries in the Americas have reported the disease, according to the Pan American Health Organization.
Source: USA Today