The message from the Department of Health as summer gets into full swing is to fight the bite all summer long… the mosquito bite that is.
In its update of the Zika virus DOH reports that the confirmed number of cases is 29, 14 of whom are pregnant women.
There have been no babies born with birth defects from Zika.
DOH is urging the public not to let their guard down about Zika as mosquitoes, which spread the disease, are plentiful across the island.
You can prevent mosquito bites by using insect repellent with DEET, keeping your yard free of receptacles that can collect water and provide a breeding place for mosquitoes, such as tires, ice cream containers, pot for plants and the like, and wearing clothing that gives you good covering when you are outside.
DOH has added to the three d’s this advise.
The use of condoms can prevent the spread of diseases including Zika when used the right way every time during sex.
If a partner thinks they may have Zika it’s advisable not to have sex until they’re tested.
DOH also says if you have symptoms of Zika you should get tested.
Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pains, conjunctivitis…that is red eyes.
You may also experience muscle pain and headache .
Pregnant women are getting special attention in Zika prevention efforts by DOH and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, which has had a rotating team here for the last three months to help combat and stop the spread of the virus.
The reason is because CDC has discovered a link between Zika and a defect known as microzephaly in babies born of mothers who contracted Zika.
DOH Community Health Centers at Tafuna, Amouli and Leone and department headquarters at Fagaalu are offering free prenatal care and lab services to expectant mothers during their entire pregnancies.