Health directorate issues Zika prevention advice

The virus has not been detected in Malta and the health authorities are encouraging preventitive measures to reduce the likelihood of infection

The health authorities have issued advice aimed at preventing the introduction of the Zika virus to the island, ahead of the warmer mosquito season.

The aedes aldopictus is the mosquito responsible for the transmission of the virus, which can have devastating effects on infants in utero.

Mosquito control measures should be taken to reduce the likelihood of the insects reproducing in close proximity to people. Standing or stagnant water sources, such as open containers, drains, culverts, tyres and plant pots, should be drained and cleaned. In cases these areas cannot be drained, treatment with chlorine is advised to kill any larvae.

Water reservoirs and swimming pools should be treated with appropriate pesticides if they cannot be drained completely. Water containers of any size should be covered.

Indoors, the use of insect screens, repellants and fans – which disrupt the insects’ flight – is recommended to reduce the chance of being bitten by the insects. When going outdoors during the mosquitos’ most active period, at dusk, do not leave any area on the body exposed.

The Health Directorate also encouraged the use of a WHO app that offers users information about the Zika virus and its prevention.

A helpline is available on 2132 4056 for further information on the virus and on getting tested for the disease. 

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