The Honiara City Council (HCC) vector borne disease division kicked off its Zika outbreak response action as of last week.
The response team carried out spraying exercise on targeted localities within the Honiara city, using backpackers bottle spraying and the ultra violet (ULV) spraying machine mounted on a truck, spraying the road sides.
HCC vector born program manager George Fafale told the paper, “As part of our response to Zika outbreak, we start our spraying exercise last week. We started again today (yesterday) after the long Easter weekend.
“Our boys use bottle backpackers to spray homes, and ULV machine to spray road sides and drains where we believe mosquitoes breed.”
He said that Zika and dengue has one carrier mosquito, so his team are mainly targeting localities where suspected cases are recorded.
“The spraying exercise is mainly targeted to localities where suspected cases were, and areas vulnerable to Zika and dengue outbreak. We started at White River and will be going around the entire city.”
Mr Fafale urged communities to work closely with them, and to do their own clean up around their home.
“Residents need to clean their surrounding, to prevent further out break”, Fafale added.
The first case of Zika virus was confirmed by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) on 12th March.
Zika virus is a mild illness transmitted by an infected mosquito. It is closely related to dengue virus and causes a similar illness.
Symptoms include fever, redeye, joint pain (mainly in the hands and feet) and a rash that often starts on the face and spreads throughout the body. These symptoms usually last for two to seven days.
An outbreak of Zika has not been declared in Solomon Islands; however outbreaks have been recently reported in other Pacific Island countries.
There is no vaccine or any specific medicine to treat Zika, but people can protect themselves and their families from being bitten by mosquitoes. Insect repellent, mosquito nets and wearing long sleeves and pants can prevent mosquitoes bites. Throwing away or emptying the water from containers lying around gardens can prevent mosquitos laying their eggs around houses.
The Disease Surveillance Unit and National Vector Borne Disease Control Program of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) are working with the World Health Organization to identify the emergence of any zika-like cases in Solomon Islands and to reduce mosquito populations.
How to protect yourself and your family from Zika:
Prevent mosquitoes from biting you:
– Use mosquito repellent on your skin, especially if outside at peak biting times, which are early morning (around sunrise) and late afternoon to early evening (4-7pm).
– Wear long pants and long sleeve shirts, especially during peak biting times.
– Sleep under a mosquito net if sleeping during the day (especially babies), as this is when the mosquito bites.
– Some mosquitoes bite during the day both inside and outside. They like to attack in cool, dark places, such as under shady trees.
Prevent mosquitoes breeding around your house:
– Mosquitoes lay their eggs in containers lying around the outside of houses. Their favourite containers are old tyres, drums, coconut shells and rubbish bins. These items should be thrown out or burnt, or put undercover so that the rain will not cause them to fill with water and breed mosquitoes.
– When using drums and containers for storing drinking and washing water, make sure they are well covered with a sealed lid and emptied and scrubbed clean (to remove mosquito eggs) at least once a week to help prevent the mosquito breeding inside them.
By CHARLEY PIRINGI