SAN JUAN – The Trinidad and Tobago government announced Friday that it will treat the Zika virus as a public health emergency, despite the lack of any confirmed cases in the twin-island nation.
Resources meant to handle “an actual or potential public health crisis” have been released to manage the spread of the Zika virus, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
Zika is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also carries dengue fever and Chikungunya.
“The native Aedes aegypti mosquito population in Trinidad and Tobago, which is responsible for spreading Zika, means that the arrival in this country is inevitable,” Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said.
He said authorities have stepped up fumigation efforts against mosquitoes and are working to make the public aware of the potential threat.
Though the illness is rarely deadly, the current Zika outbreak in Brazil has been linked to a massive surge in the number of babies born with abnormally small heads, a condition known as microcephaly.