Marshalls to shield women from Zika

2:19 pm on 7 March 2016

Marshall Islands health officials say their top priority is to prevent pregnant women from getting the Zika virus.

A 25-year-old in the early stages of pregnancy is confirmed to have contracted Zika in February.

The government has responded by declaring a state of health emergency to push the country's Zika response into high gear.

no caption

Photo: AFP

Pregnant women who are infected are at high risk of developing congenital malformation to their unborn child.

The Ministry of Health's Helentina Garstang says public health nurses and volunteers have been doing house to house surveillance, distributing a Zika kit to pregnant women.

"The zika kits include mosquito repellant, treated mosquito nets, and condoms, along with a leaflet, an educational leaflet in the local language as well as english."

Dr. Helentina Garstang says women are being asked to come in to health clinics as soon as they think they're pregnant, to get their Zika kit.

She says pregnant mothers are also not recommended to recieve blood transfusions locally.