Health

13 confirmed Zika cases, Health ministry releases proactive guidelines

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has released a set of guidelines to avoid contracting diseases such as dengue fever, chikungunya or even the Zika Virus. Ministry of Health’s Permanent Secretary Dr. Mecuisela Tuicakau said that proactive measures are implemented to contain any possible outbreak and to ensure that the public has access to […]

DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION

April 9, 2016 11:33 am

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has released a set of guidelines to avoid contracting diseases such as dengue fever, chikungunya or even the Zika Virus.

Ministry of Health’s Permanent Secretary Dr. Mecuisela Tuicakau said that proactive measures are implemented to contain any possible outbreak and to ensure that the public has access to adequate health services and resources.

Using the example of the 13 confirmed Zika cases in the country, Dr. Tuicakau said that it is vital for the public to understand that because the virus is spread by mosquitoes, it is important that clean and hygienic practices are carried out at homes and surroundings.

The positive cases have been investigated and a rapid survey of mosquito density was carried out within their area of residence. Our health teams have visited the affected individuals and their households and also carried out awareness and preventable measures such as mosquito spraying.

The ministry had developed a Zika action plan earlier this year, which is now being implemented.

This action plan was developed through collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), Fiji Health Sector Support Program (FHSSP), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Australian Government, UNICEF and Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

The best protection from Zika virus is to prevent mosquito bites by using barriers such as mosquito repellent and mosquito nets. Pregnant women are strongly advised to protect themselves from mosquito bites. A collective effort by people is needed in destroying mosquito breeding places by emptying, cleaning or covering containers that can hold even a small amount of water.

While there is no outbreak of the Zika virus in Fiji, the Health Ministry’s vector control, border control and Centre for Communicable Diseases will continue to monitor patients who present to medical facilities with symptoms and signs suggestive of Zika infection.

General information about the prevention and treatment of Dengue Fever and Zika virus includes:

How do you know if you or your family member may have dengue fever or Zika virus?

If you or your family member has a fever and any of the following:

  • Rash
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Eye ache
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach ache

Confirmation of dengue fever is through blood tests and therefore, they need to be taken to a nearby health facility if the above symptoms are noted.

How to care for the patient while he/she has a fever:

Bed rest: Let patients rest as much as possible, and control the fever by:

  • Give paracetamol every six (6) hours (maximum 4 doses per day).
  • Do not give ibuprofen, aspirin or aspirin-containing drugs.
  • Sponge patient’s skin with cool water if fever remains high.
  • Encourage more fluid intake.

Prevent dehydration which occurs when a person loses too much fluid (from high fevers, vomiting, or not drinking very much). Give plenty of fluids and watch for signs of dehydration. Bring patient to clinic or emergency room if any of the following signs develop:

  • Decrease in urination (check number of wet nappies [for infants/babies] or trips to the bathroom)
  • Few or no tears when child cries
  • Dry mouth, tongue or lips
  • Sunken eyes
  • Excessive tiredness or overly irritable or confused
  • Fast heartbeat (more than 100/min)
  • Cold or sweaty fingers and toes
  • Sunken soft spot on babies head

Watch for warning signs as temperature drops 3 to 7 days after symptoms began.

Return IMMEDIATELY to clinic or emergency department if any of the following warning signs appear:

  • Severe stomach pain or persistent vomiting
  • Red spots or patches on the skin
  • Bleeding from nose or gums
  • Vomiting blood
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Drowsiness or irritability
  • Pale, cold, or sweaty skin
  • Difficulty in breathing

The Health ministry is also urging the public to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases in homes.

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