New Zealand is the only country with a zero-tolerance policy for Zika virus
New Zealand has set a zero tolerance policy for the Zika virus, with the country’s chief medical officer stating it’s an important national priority to combat the spread of the mosquito-borne virus.
Dr Helen Szabo said the government had made a commitment to eradicate all forms of Zika, including the virus that causes microcephaly, which affects babies.
“It’s a matter of public health, and we have a zero risk for Zika, which is a really important message,” she said.
“We’re going to continue to be an active participant in this process, and to see how we can improve our public health response to this.”
Zika was first detected in the US in March.
Since then, more than 3,500 cases have been reported in New Zealand.
There were about 1,300 confirmed cases in New South Wales in March and 4,000 in March alone.
The virus is also found in South America, the Caribbean and in parts of Africa.
New Zealand’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Helen Szab, said in a statement that the country had taken a zero to zero approach to combating the virus, including eliminating mosquito breeding sites and controlling travel and migration.
She said this included the creation of a national emergency number for Zika cases, the establishment of a new national helpline for people with questions and advice about the virus and the establishment and funding of a mosquito control network.
“Our zero tolerance approach has helped to reduce the number of cases in the country,” Dr Szab said.
She added the government would also work with affected communities to ensure they had access to the latest information about the Zika outbreak.