The species of mosquitoes which act as hosts for the tropical virus Zika have not been found in Cyprus, according to Public Health Services official Pambos Harilaou.
In statements to Cyprus News Agency, Harilaou also says that in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs a travel advice will be issued containing guidelines for people intending to travel to affected countries.
At the same time, replying to a question over incidents of swine flu (H1N1), he points out that there is a number of incidents but stressed that there is no reason to worry. The number of cases falls within the expected for the season, he says.
On virus Zika, he says that it is a tropical disease which has appeared in the western hemisphere for the first time following a bite from an infected mosquito.
Although 80% of cases do not present symptoms, those who do may experience fever, headache, red eyes and muscle pain. Incubation is between 2 to 7 days, while the actual disease is of a duration between 4 and 7 days, he points out.
Replying to questions, he says that although the virus may prove to be deadly, it is usually mild.
A connection of virus Zika with microcephaly cases in Brazil or central nervous system anomalies to do with the Guillain-Barré syndrome in French Polynesia is still under investigation, he explains.
Until now no vaccine, nor any specific anti-viral treatment have been developed, he says.
Regarding Cyprus, Harilaou points out that a study carried out by the health services in 2013 on mosquito species present on the island did not find any of the species which act as hosts to the particular virus.
Asked whether such studies take place often, he notes, they do all the time.
He also pointed out that the ministry has 130 employees who are working to spray mosquitoes, adding that municipalities conduct their own mosquito control.
Harilaou said that in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs a travel advice will be issued for those intending to travel to countries affected by the virus.
Asked which countries have been affected so far, he says that so far 27 countries in Central and South America have been affected, adding that there have also been cases reported in Sweden, Germany, Holland and Portugal. However, as he explains, these cases were `imported` by other countries..
The travel advice will include recommendations for citizens to visit their doctor before they travel especially if the travel includes young children, elderly people, pregnant women, people with serious diseases or people with immuno-suppression.
Travelers should wear loose, light clothing, with long sleeves and long trousers, high socks and when outside, closed shoes and a hat.
They should use insect repellent on their uncovered skin and insecticide in the areas they will sleep. If possible they should use a mosquito net, which they should also spray with insecticide.
Upon their return pregnant women should notify their doctor and others should visit the doctor if they have any symptoms and inform them of their travels.
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY