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García Padilla Urges Citizens to Fight Zika

By on October 28, 2016

SAN JUAN — Gov. Alejandro García Padilla urged Puerto Rico residents to support government efforts against the Zika virus, following Friday’s announcement of the first baby born with birth defects as a result of the virus.

“I want to, more than ever, reiterate my call to all citizens to work together to fight Zika and to become even more aware of the consequences of this virus that is affecting Puerto Rico’s population. Zika represents a real threat to the island’s public health, particularly for our future generations,” García Padilla stated Friday.

From left, Puerto Rico State epidemiologist Dr. Brenda Rivera, Health Secretary Ana Ríuz Armendariz and Dr. Miguel Valencia Prado, director of the Health Department's Congenital Defects Program (CB photo/Limarys Súarez)

From left, Puerto Rico State epidemiologist Dr. Brenda Rivera, Health Secretary Ana Ríuz Armendariz and Dr. Miguel Valencia Prado, director of the Health Department’s Congenital Defects Program (CB photo/Limarys Súarez)

A few hours earlier, Health Secretary Ana Ríus announced the birth of the first baby with microcephaly as a result of Zika. Ríus confirmed an additional 1,489 new cases of the virus, for a total of 31,464 cumulative cases.

Meanwhile, the governor emphasized his administration’s measures to address the emergency, including orientation, educational materials and the distribution of products to avoid infection, as well as interagency and federal agencies efforts to detect and eliminate potential mosquito-breeding sources.

“However, citizen participation is essential to support government efforts in order to prevent future mothers become infected with the disease that can cause their child to be born with birth defects,” García Padilla said.

He also urged doctors to report within 24 hours if a pregnant woman tests positive to Zika, and to act as provided by the several executive orders that set the way doctors should act.

Meanwhile, health officials insist on the use of repellents, mosquito screens and clothing that covers as much of the skin as possible, as well as on eliminating mosquito-breeding sites. Similarly, the use of condoms is recommended, especially pregnant women, to prevent sexual transmission of the virus. Although it may not present any symptoms, the most common ones associated with Zika are rash, fever, joint pain and conjunctivitis without secretion.

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