No need to panic over Zika virus, says health department


The Department of Health on Saturday (20 February 2016) said there was no need to panic over the Zika virus.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Friday (19 February 2016) announced that a Colombian businessman, who is visiting the country, was diagnosed with the virus.

The businessman was diagnosed by a private Johannesburg pathology laboratory. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases is performing a confirmation test.

Department of Health spokesperson Joe Maila said, ‘There is no need to panic in South Africa when it comes to the Zika virus.

‘For someone to get the virus, they need someone who has the virus and a mosquito to bite that person, and the same mosquito should bite another person, and in South Africa our community of mosquitoes does not spread the virus.’

Maila said the virus is present in the blood of a patient for a very short time, typically less than seven days.

I am also worried that people are saying it is the first case of Zika in South Africa. This virus is not South Africa acquired, and people should understand that the businessman got it from Colombia which is experiencing a large outbreak of the virus.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said the Zika virus is ‘spreading explosively’ in the Americas and the region may see up to four million cases of the disease strongly suspected of causing birth defects.

Written by Jeanette Chabalala. This story was sourced from the News24 website.


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