Last Updated on Friday, 29 January 2016, 14:00 by Jomo Paul
While the government of Guyana is not contesting Guyana being listed among countries afflicted by a Zika pandemic, it is affirming that the country only has one case of the Zika virus.
At an emergency press conference on January 29, Guyana’s Ministry of Public Health made it clear that only one case of the virus has been confirmed while more than a dozen samples have returned negative.
The samples were tested at CARPHA in Trinidad and Tobago.
“The Ministry of Public Health wants to make it very clear that only one case of Zika virus has been presented in Guyana…I repeat. Guyana has had a single case of Zika virus,” said Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton.
The Minister indicated that consequent to the case being confirmed, the Vector Control Unit “swung into action” putting measures in place to ensure that the virus did not spread.
The unit also intensified its efforts at combating the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which is the courier for the Zika virus.
“In a few days we would like to declare her and her neighborhood Zika free,” said Dr Norton referring to Guyana’s lone Zika victim.
He pointed out that information gathered so far has indicated that in neighbouring Brazil, where there is an epidemic of the Zika virus, the spread is concentrated mainly in the east of the country while Guyana is on Brazil’s northern border.
“Information from all immigration sources tells us that citizens from these states hardly ever come to Guyana,” he stated.
Meanwhile Tourism Minister Kathy Hughes disclosed that there are intentions to contact Embassies and High Commissions to adequately update them on the presence of the Zika virus in Guyana.
“We are contacting them to let them know of the real state of Zika,” she stated.
Already, she reported there have been calls from tour organisations enquiring about the state of Zika in Guyana, and any misconceptions have been clarified.
“I was happy to let them know that we have one case and we have put specific measures in place,” she stated.