Monday, November 21, 2016
Port-of-Spain, November 21st, 2016:
The Ministry of Health notes the recent declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) which states that the Zika virus is no longer a global public health emergency. The Ministry of Health declared Zika a national public health emergency on January 29th, 2016 based on the threat as then assessed, making Trinidad and Tobago one of the first countries in the world to do so. The WHO declared a global public health emergency on February 1st which allowed for increased and more rapid research to be conducted.
This research has since linked Zika to Guilliain-Barré Syndrome in some adults and the severe birth defect, microcephaly.
This underscores that the Zika crisis is far from over as it has now been classified as a dangerous, mosquito borne disease similar to malaria or yellow fever and should be viewed as an ongoing threat.
The Ministry, having noted the WHO’s recent position wishes to advise the population of Trinidad and Tobago that vigilance must be maintained in the coming months to ensure the safety of our citizens, especially pregnant women.
The Ministry of Health will therefore maintain its position of treating Zika as a national public health emergency due to not only the threat of Zika and its associated risks, but other mosquito borne diseases as well.
Citizens are therefore urged to continue working with authorities in the eradication of mosquito breeding sites and to take all necessary precautions to avoid being bitten by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.