Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne outside The Globe Hotel. Photo Rachael Conaghan/ The Morning Bulletin
Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne outside The Globe Hotel. Photo Rachael Conaghan/ The Morning Bulletin Rachael Conaghan

Five pregnant women identified in Zika buffer zone

THERE are five pregnant women living in the 200 metre zone around The Globe Hotel, with one concerningly in her first trimester.

However, Queensland Health has assured them the risk of Zika virus spreading is "extraordinarily low".

Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne returned from parliament this morning and met with health officials and some residents in the area.

"There are five ladies that are pregnant that we're aware of at this point that are inside the buffer zone," he said.

"There is an intention to test all the pregnant ladies at this point."

Kerryn Coleman, from Queensland Health, said anyone who begins feeling unwell should visit their GP to discuss symptoms and possibly have a blood test.

"The test depends on when they may have become infected with the mosquito," she said.

"As with most disease, it can take a little while until we can detect the change in the body that's associated with infection.

"It may take up to a couple of weeks before we're able to detect any change in the blood. (Test results) generally take two or three days."

However, she said the risk of anyone becoming infected with Zika is very low.

"I can understand that everyone is concerned about it, and that's appropriate, but I think the risk is extraordinarily low and we're doing a very effective response to remove those mosquitoes," she said.

"The mosquito would have had to have bitten this gentleman while he was staying there, then that particular mosquito would have had to have flown and bitten them (the pregnant women) at a time that mosquito was infectious."

Mr Byrne also said experts have advised there is no need to extend the existing 200 metre buffer zone.

"I've been advised by experts … the zone (being sprayed) now is twice the size it needs to be. There is a 100m buffer included in the zone now," he said.

"The response of council and the health department are in line with best practice processes that are in place for dengue, it's the same process for this mosquito-borne virus as it is for dengue."


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