25 Feb 2016

Concerns American Samoa cleanup may lead to more contracting Zika

6:21 pm on 25 February 2016

Some government employees in American Samoa are worried that participating in a Zika mosquito cleanup campaign may lead to them contracting the virus.

zika mosquito

Photo: 123RF

More than 3,000 government workers are expected to participate in this week's clean-up campaign that's targeting villages that have the highest number of pregnant women.

Employees from all government departments will be involved in removing objects that collect water, as they provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

But our correspondent, Monica Miller, said employees had told her they would prefer not be involved.

"Some women do not know until about six or seven weeks later that they are pregnant, they are too busy to pay attention to when their last period was, they might be going out on this clean-up and then get bitten by a mosquitoe that has the virus and then you have the disease."

Ms Miller said a dengue outbreak last year prompted a cleanup, but it didn't even make a dent on what's there.

"If you know American Samoa, you go around the villages, there are certain villages that have accumulated a lot of junk vehicles for example, a lot of unused applicances. And there's even derelict fishing boats that collect rainwater."

She said they did have a period of dry weather, but since the monsoonal trough and cyclone Winston they've had a lot of rain.