French Polynesia clarifies insecticide use over zika

8:30 am on 22 February 2016

Health authorities in French Polynesia say they never used the insecticide which Argentinian experts link to the large number of microcephaly cases in Brazil's Zika outbreak.

Thousands of malformed babies have been born in Brazil in areas hit by the Zika virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes.

In Tahiti, the authorities say that - like in other French overseas territories - they have for decades used deltamethrin to fight mosquitoes and not pyriproxyfen as in South America.

They say deltamethrin, which has also been used to fight chikungunya and dengue, has not had negative effects.

Mosquito, Papua New Guinea.

The mosquito-borne zika virus has been declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organisation, at the same level of concern as Ebola. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

In the Zika outbreak in Tahiti two years ago, about 60 percent of the population contracted Zika and 42 people now suffer from Guillain-Barre.

About 10 cases of microcephaly have been registered during that period when the usual incidence of such malformations is about two.

Pregnancy warning in American Samoa over zika

Meanwhile, women in American Samoa have been advised to delay getting pregnant until the Zika virus outbreak ends.

Pregnant women have been targeted in public awareness activities by health authorities after confirmation last week that 205 people may have the mosquito borne virus.

The director of mursing at the Department of Health, Margaret Sesepasara, said women thinking of becoming pregnant should reconsider due to Zika.

She said, as well, the Centres for Disease Control were planning to provide kits to protect women from mosquitoes.

"Just for pregnant mums. The kit includes the mosquito net, the repellent spray, the long sleeve shirt and there is other stuff inside the kit, so when they get here [the CDC] we will start distributing them to the pregnant mums in all the health centres."

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