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Feb 26, 2016

7 Confirmed Zika Cases in Barbados

In January of 2016, Barbados confirmed its first case of ZIKA virus. Today, there are seven confirmed cases. Our team, Duane Moody and Marleni Cuellar, in Barbados visited the Ministry of Health Office in Bridgetown to find out more about the island’s response to this latest vector borne illness. According to senior Medical Officer for with responsibility for Environmental Health and Surveillance Dr. Arthur Philips and Chief Environmental Health Officer, Desmond King, the Barbados Ministry of Health is focusing on vector control. The habit of improper water storage is one that needs to be addressed. The Ministry is also working along with the tourism stakeholders to minimize the effects on tourism


Desmond King, Chief Environmental Health Officer, Barbados MINISTRY of Health

“Barbados, the tourism industry is the pillar of our economy and we enforce that to enforce that because it is a pivotal roll in the economic development and our social development. We have made ourselves available very early on, in terms of this ZIKA program to have them sit with us and see what we could have done with them. That program came for training; we are not only focused on tourists and we also focus on the members in society in terms of your approach, in terms of eliminating the vector. We are going to inform you, we are going to educate you not only through the Ministry of Health and it is our roll to make sure that Barbados is set free and free from diseases.”


Dr. Arthur Philips, Senior Medical Officer, Barbados MINISTRY of Health

“I think what is fortunate is that we have a relationship, we have a history of collaborating with tourism stake holders. Certainly as recently as 2014 Chik-V would have moved with our tourism stakeholders in training and empowering them so that they were better able to conduct inspection and eradication activities on the tourism premises. This is in the context of taking approaches as Mr. King mentioned earlier of an integrated management strategy so that there are pillars that include our laboratory capacity, our public education and social engagement; our environmental control, our vector management, our chemical care etc. And I am very happy that our tourism counterparts have continued to work with us. Ultimately I just want to emphasize as I said before that the issue of ZIKA helps us to look back at mosquito borne illnesses and there threat to the population. There are quite a few mosquito borne illnesses that have never been to this region but if we can get the mosquito sorted then we won’t have to be worrying about the particular diseases but we would have sorted the mosquito problem.”

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