18 Feb 2016

American Samoa Zika response: Free health checks if pregnant

7:37 pm on 18 February 2016

The American Samoa Department of Health is offering help to pregnant women to ensure they don't miss any check ups and are well protected from the Zika virus.

zika mosquito

Photo: 123RF

Expectant women are a special target group in the response to the Zika outbreak due to fears of a link between the virus and deformities in babies born to mothers who contracted the virus while they were carrying.

The Department is urging pregnant women to be tested for the Zika virus and protect themselves from mosquitoes.

Director of nursing Margaret Sesepasara said pre-natal check ups, tests and other services were free of charge during the outbreak.

"So all pregnant mums out there please come in for your check up or your physical, and if you are not sure you are pregnant, if you suspect you are pregnant come in and we will test you for free. No more charging, no more finance struggle here. All the visits for all the pregnant mums are free," said Margaret Sesepasara.

More Zika testing

More blood samples of pregnant women suspected to have Zika virus in American Samoa have been flown to Hawaii for testing.

The Department of Health is testing pregnant women because of the suspected link between the virus and microcepaly in babies.

Last week, the department received confirmation of four Zika cases in the territory out of 25 samples sent to Honolulu.

One of the women found to have the virus is pregnant.

Medical director Tamasoalii Dr. Joseph Tufa is urging people to clean up their properties which can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes.