As the Ministry of Education and by extension the government of Grenada takes a proactive approach in keeping the Zika virus at bay, mothers to be will be the first to be tested for the virus.
Just like the Chikungunya, Zika is spread through the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, leaving an infected person to display symptoms such as fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes.
Speaking at the weekly post-Cabinet Briefing held at the Ministerial Complex, Minister of Health, Nickolas Steele said that preference will be given to pregnant women because the virus posses some unique threats to pregnant women causing birth defects.
“We expect to start doing testing, doing blood test for individuals.
We will start first with pregnant women and anyone who may show symptoms of Zika but what needs to be recognised is four out of every five people that would get Zika wouldn’t show any symptoms, so we want to make sure that we protect first off pregnant women, mothers to be,” he told reporters.
According to the senior government minister, the country must remain vigilant and take proactive steps on assumption that the virus will eventually come to Grenada.
He disclosed that government has increased its surveillance in keeping with recent statements made by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that regardless of efforts made by governments and health systems in the region, the virus will spread throughout the area.
He made mention of the fact that Grenada like its other neighbours do have a high level of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito which contributes to the spread of the virus.
“We have been able to reduce in the last year in Grenada the Mosquito index specific to Aedes Aegypti from 12 to 8, which means that at the beginning of 2015, 12 in every 1000 households in Grenada have the presence of the Aedes Aegypti.
“We would have reduced that in 2015 to 8 in every 1000, that is still a very high level but that is one of the lowest levels for the region.
The Anti Litter Bill was tabled in Parliament in 2015 and Minister Steele stated that it will be enforced to enhance the country’s alertness to the virus.
“The Anti Litter Bill will be enforced but that means that you’re asking government to arrest and fine the offenders and I am truly hoping as a people, that we make that effort on our own in our various communities to reduce the litter”, he said.
“…There will be individuals who are less caring, less sensitive or less educated to the issues and that’s what the Anti-Litter Bill is supposed to take care of,” he added.