News

ZIKA: Virus has not been found in mosquitoes in Rockhampton

A Queensland Health employee sprays around Russell Burton and Jess Edwards' Depot Hill home to ward off mosquitoes after the Zika virus detected at The Globe Hotel next door. Jess is nine months pregnant. Photo Rachael Conaghan / The Morning Bulletin
A Queensland Health employee sprays around Russell Burton and Jess Edwards' Depot Hill home to ward off mosquitoes after the Zika virus detected at The Globe Hotel next door. Jess is nine months pregnant. Photo Rachael Conaghan / The Morning Bulletin Rachael Conaghan

THE Queensland Health Minister has stressed to Parliament there is no Zika outbreak in the state.

Cameron Dick made the statement this morning while informing parliament about the recent case in Rockhampton.

"I stress that at the moment, there is no local outbreak of Zika," Mr Dick said.

He said the Zika virus has not been found in mosquitoes in Rockhampton yet.

What we know so far:

  • Man presented to Allenstown Medical Centre on Monday with symptoms similar to the flu
  • Dr suspected something more than the flu, test results came back two days later positive for Zika
  • Patient is a 50-year-old FIFO worker
  • He had recently visited South America where there is an outbreak of the virus
  • Queensland Health carried out spraying 200 metres surrounding The Globe Hotel in Depot Hill where the man had spent some time after his trip overseas. The spray is not harmful to humans
  • Pregnant women in the area that start to feel unwell are urged to visit their GP to discuss testing for the disease
This 2006 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host. Scientists believe the species originated in Africa, but came to the Americas on slave ships. It’s continued to spread through shipping and airplanes. Now it’s found through much of the world. (James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP)
This 2006 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host. Scientists believe the species originated in Africa, but came to the Americas on slave ships. It’s continued to spread through shipping and airplanes. Now it’s found through much of the world. (James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP) James Gathany

Mr Dick said he was advised by Queensland Health that the risk of any pregnant woman here contracting Zika virus and having a baby affected by microcephaly to be exceeding small.

"If anyone in the affected area is unwell and concerned they should visit their GP to discuss testing for the disease.

"I want to be clear - there is no evidence the Zika virus is in mosquitoes in the area. We want it to stay that way.

"This is why we are undertaking urgent vector control in conjunction with local government as it is possible there may be a small number of infected mosquitoes present in the area following this recent case.

Health Minister Cameron Dick addressed Queensland Parliament this morning about the Zika virus case in Rockhampton
Health Minister Cameron Dick addressed Queensland Parliament this morning about the Zika virus case in Rockhampton john mccutcheon
 

"Spraying to kill the Aedes aegypti mosquito began in the immediate vicinity of the hotel yesterday.

"And spraying will continue this morning in the yards and homes of businesses within a 200m radius of the hotel.

"This is designed to help contain the mosquito and reduce the likelihood of a local outbreak.

 

"The spraying is safe for people, including women who are pregnant.

"Spraying is usually done with the co-operation of the home and business owner, but we have the option of issuing a Public Health Order which will enable sprayers to enter premises for the purposes of mosquito control if necessary.

"We are working closely with Rockhampton Regional Council, and we will be providing further information to GPs in the area today about the role that they can play."

The mosquito that is found in Australia that carries Zika also carries dengue.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has warned the Zika outbreak could worsen world-wide before things get better.

Director-General Margaret Chan made the comments at the end of her two-day visit to Brazil, the country at the epicenter of the Zika crisis. 

"Things may get worse before they get better," Chan said at a news conference in Rio de Janeiro. "Don't be surprised to see microcephaly reported in other parts of Brazil."

As yet, Brazil's Zika outbreak has been concentrated in the northeastern part of the nation.

Much remains unknown about Zika, including whether the virus actually causes microcephaly, a condition marked by unusually small heads that can result in developmental problems. Chan underscored that scientists are still working to determine causality between the virus and the birth defect.  Read more of that story on Reuters: Zika will worsen - WHO

Rockhampton doctor talks about diagnosing patient with Zika

THE Rockhampton doctor at the centre of the Zika virus diagnosis says he knew it was something more serious than the flu when the patient described his symptoms.

The patient presented himself to the Allenstown Medical Centre on Monday complaining of muscle aches, fevers and a rash.

Dr Geoff Cashion knew there was something more serious at play on Monday when his 50-year-old patient mentioned he worked in South America.

"When I talked to him he mentioned he had been in South America and that was where he was working and he mentioned he had been in contact with people who had Zika virus, and that got me quite concerned," he said.

"I did a bit of research and it was fairly obvious that the rash he had was quite common with Zika.

"We did the testing and two days later he came back positive." Read the full story here: Doctor 'surprised' when he diagnosed Rocky Zika case

 

7am: NEW reports indicate the Rockhampton man who tested positive for the Zika virus is a fly-in fly-out worker.

The Bulletin also believes the man attended the Allenstown Medical Centre on Monday.

The man has been staying at The Globe Hotel in Depot Hill.

  • Health authorities will carry out mosquito spraying around the  Depot Hill hotel this morning.
  • If anyone in the affected area is unwell and concerned they should visit their GP to discuss testing for the disease.
  • Any pregnant woman in the affected area who is concerned should also visit their GP to discuss their options for testing.

 

Related stories

Zika virus confirmed in Rockhampton, hotel locked down

Common symptoms of Zika  

Mosquitoes have been bad in Depot Hill lately, says resident

 

6am: HEALTH authorities will spray a 200m radius around a hotel in Rockhampton following confirmation of a case of imported Zika virus with close connections to the area.

A man tested positive for the disease yesterday after recently returning from South America.

The man has spent time at the hotel and the mosquito that carries the disease, Aedes aegypti, has been detected near the hotel.

The virus was not acquired locally and there have been no reported cases of locally acquired Zika virus in Queensland.

Queensland's Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Sonya Bennett said Zika virus, like dengue, could be spread if an Aedes aegypti mosquito bites an infected person, is then itself infected, and then goes on to bite another person."

"As a precaution, spraying is currently taking place near the hotel," Dr Bennett said.

"Tomorrow (Thursday) we plan to initiate a public health declaration which will enable us to spray in the yards of homes and businesses within a 200m radius of The Globe Hotel in Depot Hill.

"Homes and businesses outside of this area are at a reduced risk because the Aedes aegypti is not known to fly very far.

"I understand this may cause some concern to pregnant women around Depot Hill. Public health officers will be conducting door knocks of the area and speaking personally with pregnant women.

"Our message to them is to ensure there are no breeding areas for the mosquito around their homes, to use mosquito surface spray inside their homes and to use mosquito repellent containing DEET on their bodies.

"If anyone in the affected area is unwell and concerned they should visit their GP to discuss testing for the disease.

"Any pregnant woman in the affected area who is concerned should also visit their GP to discuss their options for testing.

"We are alerting the Depot Hill community to this issue and would like them to work with us in mitigating that risk."

Residents in the affected zone were encouraged to get tested for the virus if they experience symptoms which could be related to Zika virus infection in the next two weeks.

The test involves a simple blood sample with results returned in a matter of days.

People should

  • Tip out any water from containers, tarpaulins or buckets.
  • Store anything that can hold water undercover or in a dry place, including work equipment, surplus materials
  • Throw out any rubbish like unused or empty containers, tyres, additional materials and keep worksites tidy.

Topics:  dengue fever, editors picks, mosquito, zika virus




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