Secondary spread of Zika virus unlikely - Motsoaledi

2016-03-09 14:42
(File, Eraldo Peres, AP)

(File, Eraldo Peres, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town – There are no mosquitoes capable of spreading the Zika virus in South Africa, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi reiterated on Wednesday.

The minister was briefing the health committee in Parliament on the Zika virus in the country.

So far, only one case of the virus has been confirmed in the country, when a Colombian businessman who was visiting South Africa was diagnosed in February.

Motsoaledi reassured MPs that a secondary spread of the Zika virus was unlikely.

"This Zika virus has not given me sleepless nights," he said.

He said the department had increased surveillance at ports of entries.

"Our special focus on ports of entry is the possibility of transported mosquitoes. We make sure that even before a plane leaves one of the affected countries, it is sprayed thoroughly."

The minister said the only way the Zika-carrying mosquito could get into the country was if it was imported, and they were taking precautions against that.

Motsoaledi said the biggest concern was to pregnant women, as there was no vaccine or cure available.

He called on pregnant women to avoid traveling to areas where the Zika virus had been found.

"First prize would be pregnant women not travelling at all to these countries," he said.

He said if they were forced to travel, then they should make sure that they took precautions to make sure no mosquitoes came near them.

He said there was no reason to panic over the Zika virus in South Africa.

It was a self-limiting virus, he said, that disappeared from the body within seven days.

"I don’t know of anyone who died of Zika virus," he said.

Malaria the biggest problem

MPs questioned the minister about the focus on ports of entry, the need for more communication and the education of smaller communities about the virus.

Motsoaledi said, while they were keeping an eye on the Zika virus, the biggest problem was malaria which is also spread by mosquitoes.

That was what was giving him sleepless nights, he said.

The health minister called on travellers to take extra precautions when going to countries were the Zika virus has been found.

These include:

- Wearing mosquito repellent all over the body;

- Wear long sleeves and keeping the body covered to prevent mosquito bites;

- Making sure there are air conditioners in the rooms you stay in;

- And if there are no air conditioners, sleeping with the fan on close-by.

"All the mosquitoes will be blown away, they can’t get past the strength of the fan," he said.

Read more on:    aaron motsoaledi  |  zika virus  |  health

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.