Local February 3, 2016 | 1:02 pm

Zika: Public Health to focus on pregnant women as vulnerable group

Santo Domingo.- Dominican Republic has ramped up its vigilanceon zika virus to avert contagion, focusing on vulnerable groups such aspregnant women, one day after the World Health Organization (WHO) issued internationalemergency declaration for cases of microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome “possiblyassociated with the disease.”

According to Health Ministry official Jose Manuel Puello,the main recommendations are for pregnant women, while and those in the firststage of gestation should use mosquito nets, trousers, long sleeve blouses andapply insect repellent as specified on the label.

The Public Health Ministry also urges women in childbearingage to postpone pregnancy during the rest of the year.

“One of the most important measures for communities toprevent zika is sure to avoid mosquitoes born in their homes, yards, derelictand their environments, eliminating breeding sites He said.

The international emergency declaration paves the way for addedresources from international agencies to enable countries to develop containmentactions to bolster that strategy, Puello said, according to thewww.sespas.gov.do.

"With this declaration the World Health Organization alsomakes a number of recommendations to be linked to those already in place inrelation to this disease, including monitoring for cases of microcephaly and Guillain-Barrésyndrome that should be standardized and improved particularly in areas wheredisease transmission is known and in risk areas."

the Emergency Committee that includes the InternationalHealth Regulations recommended stepping up research into etiology of newclusters of cases of microcephaly and neurological disorders to identify anycausal link between the Zika virus or if other factors are present,” theofficial said.

Additional prevention measures

Puello said Dominican Republic, as part the International HealthRegulations Emergency Committee, was notified of the following additionalpreventive measures:

Moreover increased surveillance of contagion from the virus,distribute diagnostic means in risk areas and prioritize the development of newdiagnostic tools to facilitate surveillance and control.

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