Zika fears rise in Wakenaam

first_imgBy Devina SamarooHealth authorities are concerned about the unavailability of practical means to detect the presence of the ZikaThe Wakenaam Cottage Hospitalvirus on the island of Wakenaam in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara).Some 20 persons who visit the Wakenaam Cottage Hospital on a daily basis are diagnosed with the Chikungunya virus, given the symptoms they exhibit.However, those persons could very well be diagnosed with the Zika virus, since the symptoms are similar, but there is no way to confirm owing to the unavailability of facilities in the region.“Most of the time, the patients come and they have rashes and fever, we would diagnose them with Chikungunya and give them the treatment,” Resident Doctor (Ag) Marcia Evelyn explained.The Chikungunya virus, a mosquito-borne disease, features the sudden onset of fever two to four days after exposure. The fever usually lasts two to seven days, with accompanying joint pains typically last weeks or months but sometimes years.Initially, the Zika virus was considered to be less severe than the Chikungunya since it causes mild symptoms like low fever, headaches and joint pain.However new research has linked to disease to paralysing disorders.Both diseases are treated symptomatically since there is no actual cure for the infection; however, it is critical to any society to monitor the spread of the disease.Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton noted that it is definitely a concern that residents of Wakenaam are unaware whether or not they are infected with the Zika virus, noting that measures must be put in place to remedy the situation.He noted that a prevention and awareness campaign definitely needs to be introduced to the island.Meanwhile, the regional health officials explained that many of the persons on the island live in poverty and therefore cannot afford travel to the Georgetown Public Hospital for further testing.At the moment, those persons exhibiting symptoms of the Chikungunya virus, which is similar to the Zika virus, are being prescribed symptomatic treatment and sent home.French researchers recently discovered that in addition to causing severe birth defects, the Zika virus can result in a rare neurological ailment in adults and is linked to paralysis-causing myelitis (inflammation in the spinal cord).Myelitis can affect limb movement and cause paralysis by interrupting communication between the spinal cord and the rest of the body.Emerging research also shows that the virus may cause eye damage in babies.The virus has also been classified as a sexually transmitted disease, after there have been less than a handful of reported cases of sexual transmission.Persons exhibiting the symptoms are advised to visit the nearest health institution to get tested. Currently, there are nine confirmed cases of the Zika Virus in Guyana.last_img