MOH News
MOH Statement on Zika Virus
02 February 2016
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has called upon all those wishing to travel to the Zika-affected countries to take the precautions that must be taken, highlighting that the virus (Zika) is an emerging mosquito-borne virus. Up to the last week, the Zika virus outbreaks have occurred in the following countries: Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Suriname, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Venezuela, Panama, Martinique, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Barbados, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, Guyana, Haiti, Bolivia and French Guiana, given that the list of these countries is to be updated periodically on the MOH's Portal. 
 
The MOH stated that Zika virus disease (ZVD) is caused by a virus transmitted by (Aedes Aegypti) mosquito, which usually bites in the early morning hours and at sunset, and not transmitted from person to person. Its symptoms are similar to those of dengue fever viruses, including fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise and headache. The disease and its symptoms are usually mild, which last from 2 to 7 days, with the possibility of having neurological and immunity complications. The virus may cause abnormalities in the fetus, such as microcephaly, if the mother becomes infected with ZVD during her pregnancy.
 
“Medical care and advice must be sought when the disease is suspected, and the patient's condition usually doesn't require hospitalization, and recovery is developed without suffering any complications. There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available, and those infected with the virus should get plenty of rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain and fever with common medicines,” the Ministry stated.  
 
It added that Mosquitoes and their breeding areas represent one of the important risk factors for Zika virus infection. Prevention and control against this disease relies on reducing mosquitoes through source reduction (removal of breeding areas) and reducing exposure of people to mosquitoes. 
 
It is worth mention that the MOH has called upon all travellers to Zika-affected areas to take individual protective measures to avoid mosquito bites, indicating that travellers suffering from immune disorders or chronic diseases are advised to request medical advice before travelling. Also, pregnant women who are planning to travel to Zika-affected areas are advised to discuss their plans with their health care providers, and to consider postponing their travel to these areas.
 
Furthermore, the Ministry has advised Saudi citizens living in Zika-affected areas on the importance of taking individual protective measures to avoid mosquito bites, especially pregnant women. They also have to take individual protective measures to avoid mosquito bites throughout the day, especially in the early morning and at sunset, such times when the virus is highly active, by using mosquito repellents, protective creams against mosquito bites, wearing long sleeves and pants and using mosquito nets when sleeping, especially during the hours of their activity. 
 
The travellers, who develop symptoms similar to dengue fever or ZVD within three weeks after returning from an affected area, should contact the health care providers and tell them about their travel to such areas. Also pregnant women, who have travelled to such Zika-affected areas, should notify their doctors about their visit to these areas, in order to examine and evaluate their health conditions properly.
 
 
 

 



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