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Healthcare official says Zika virus has only a ‘theoretical chance’ to spread in Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Monday, May 23
The head of Georgia’s National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC), Amiran Gamkrelidze says there is only a “theoretical” chance for the Zika virus to spread in Georgia.

At a special press conference, Gamkrelidze said that the Zika virus “has never been reported” in Georgia and a special mosquito, the Aedes, which spreads the virus was also “very rare” in the country.

The Zika virus disease is caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The virus creates major threats for pregnant women as it may cause serious birth defects, like microcephaly.

“I must stress there is no ground for panic in Georgia over the virus, as there is no infected individual reported in the country. We are well prepared not to miss any such case.

“A chance of spreading of the virus is only theoretical, as the type of mosquito which spreads the virus is only found in Georgia’s seaside regions in small numbers, but an infected person must be present and the mosquito must then bite him/her to spread the virus,” Gamkrelidze said.

Gamkrelidze said that despite minor chances of spreading the virus, Georgia’s relevant bodies with the Ministry of Healthcare were carrying out major disinfection works at Georgia’s western seaside regions against all type of insects, and the Lugar Laboratory in Tbilisi also possesses modern medical equipment to expose and contain the virus as quickly as possible should it emerge.

Since May 2015, Brazil has experienced a significant outbreak of the Zika virus. In recent months, Brazilian officials reported an increase in the number of babies born with microcephaly, a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age. Babies with microcephaly often have smaller brains that might not developeproperly.

The primary way that pregnant women get Zika virus is through the bite of an infected mosquito. The Zika virus can then be spread by a man through sexual contact, with a pregnant woman then subsequently passing it to her fetus.