The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is again urging residents and visitors and visitors to the region to take every precaution to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Earlier this month, CARPHA confirmed five cases of the Zika virus, which is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, in a CARICOM territory, leading CARPHA’s executive director, Dr. James Hospedales, to emphasize the need for prevention and control measures to be taken in order to prevent transmission of the virus.

CARPHA’s continued appeal to avoid being bitten is even more critical for women who are pregnant, as the ministry of health in Brazil investigates a link between the mosquito-borne Zika virus and an increased incidence of microcephaly, which is a condition where the size of an infant’s head is smaller than normal because of slowed or incomplete brain development.

While this may happen for a wide range of reasons, including inherited factors, it sometimes occurs as a result of exposure of the baby in the mother’s womb to certain infections contracted in the first few months of pregnancy, and Zika virus is now suspected to be one of the infections that can increase the risk of this condition.

CARPHA is therefore reminding all persons, especially women who are pregnant, to protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved clothing or long pants, using insect repellents and sleeping under mosquito nets. Persons are also urged to destroy all breeding sites for mosquitoes in and around the home.

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