Zika is on everyone’s minds these days as the virus spreads throughout Latin America and the Pacific Islands (with over 900 travel-related cases in the U.S.). By the end of May more than 200 cases of Zika were registered in Nicaragua. More recent numbers aren’t available. So, what are we doing about it at Clinica Verde?
First, what is Zika? It’s a virus that spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected species of mosquito called Aedes. People can also get Zika through sex with an infected man, and the virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects. That’s what’s got everyone worried about containing it and developing a vaccine to prevent more infections.
At Clinica Verde, we’re doing our part by following the precautions given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. In addition, here’s how we’re addressing the challenge among the communities we serve:
At Clinica Verde in Boaco we:
• Provide educational talks on Zika to all age groups
• Post educational billboards
• Implement pest control in clinical facilities
• Thoroughly clean all common areas
In addition, we:
• Provide educational talks to all age groups in some rural communities
• Initiated a waste collection effort in the areas surrounding the clinic and mosquito breeding sites, with help from our teen peer counselors
• Apply a pesticide recommended by the Ministry of Health for larval control on channels around the clinic
• Compiled a list of obsolete material from the clinic for removal, including old furniture and equipment that no longer has utility
• Checked the status of screens on all clinic windows for repair
• Evaluated storage containers of water to ensure cleanliness
• Recommended all staff wear proper clothing including long pants and long-sleeve shirts (weather permitting) and repellent (which is placed in the admissions area)
• Posted on our Facebook page educational information for our Nicaraguan followers
In consultations, our doctors and nurses are closely monitoring pregnant women and reinforcing education. Any positive cases must be reported to the health authorities, and recommendations are made to prevent transmission.
We don’t recommend use of repellents for babies under 2 years old and in children under 3 we recommend not using any products containing lemon eucalyptus or methanediol. Rather we suggest covering the arms and legs of children, and covering beds or cribs with mosquito nets.
For men who have been diagnosed with Zika condom use is urged, as is avoidance of oral sex.
We take the threat of Zika very seriously and are doing all that we can to educate and protect our patients and community. These activities are periodic and ongoing – with all members of the Clinica Verde staff pitching in!