The Apunipima Cape York Health Council urged locals to take all the necessary measures against Zika virus, which has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation. The virus, which is suspected to be responsible for severe birth defects, is spreading in Brazil rapidly.
Though there is no case of transmission of the virus to Australia yet, health authorities are urging the residents to adopt preventive measures to stop an outbreak.
“We just decided to get some information out about this because we are a potential area for spread. We want to make sure everybody cleans up and does the things they can to prevent this starting in Cape York, particularly,” Mark Wenitong told the ABC. “Our motto is to get in early and stop things before they start.”
The mosquitoes known to carry and transmit the Zika virus are found in Queensland and the last reported case of the illness dates back to March 2014.
Queensland’s Health Minister Cameron Dick said he has asked the chief health officer of the state, Jeannette Young, to see to it whether there are requirements of more hospitals and public health services for monitoring the disease.
He warned that the mosquito-borne virus, Aedes Aegypti, can enter the country through the northern parts of Australia, particularly the Torres Strait. He added that the region is being monitored to detect any early case of the illness.
“My advice is that it’s not a significant risk to Queensland at this time. But we’re going to continue to monitor that,” Skynews quoted him as telling reporters on Monday.
Another type of mosquito, Aedes Albopictus, also has the potential of transmitting the virus and is found in Torres Strait.
The prime minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill, announced on Monday that tourists and residents returning from overseas will be screened for the virus by the health officials there, the New York Times reports.