Tongan govt issues official Zika warning

Tongan govt issues official Zika warning

The Ministry of Health in Tonga has issued a formal warning to residents, advising women to avoid getting pregnant while they try and contain the Zika virus outbreak.

So far three pregnant women are suspected of having the virus, and the country’s obstetrics department is anticipating in increase in the number of women requesting extra scans.

Jenny Dansey is recovering in hospital, after having a miscarriage. Amid the current Zika outbreak, she’s decided she will delay trying to get pregnant again.

"I’m going to put it on hold. I'm so scared of this virus," she says.

Ms Dansey is already a mother of four; her 1-year-old recently contracted the virus. She says she won’t have another baby for at least five years, and thinks other women should take precautions, or consider doing the same.

"If you are not prepared to look after yourself and not get bitten by mosquitoes, then don't go there and take the risk of having a baby."

It's a message supported by the head of obstetrics and gynaecology, Dr Ma'ake Tupou.

He says his team are prepared for an influx of pregnant women asking for additional ultrasound scans.

"There is going to be an increase in the number of requests from the cases that we suspect might have the infection during pregnancy."

Supervising public health inspector Sela Akolo Fa'u also says the public must take more responsibility, and clear their homes of any debris which could become breeding sites.

"If you don't want to work closely with us, then I think we might end up with a lot more people suffering from the Zika virus infection. The worst part is, if any life id lost because of this outbreak."

Blood samples from the three pregnant women suspected of having the virus have been sent to labs in Tahiti.

The results are due back within the next two weeks.