The public has been urged to join the Ministry of Health’s nationwide cleaning campaign to destroy breeding grounds of mosquitoes that spread the newly Zika virus.

The Hon. Minister of Health, Hon. Saia Piukala made the plea this morning when he confirmed in Parliament that seven patients are now being confirmed to have the virus.

Last week he announced the first reported cases of the Zika infection in Tonga with 5. This week two more are confirmed to have been infected.

Dr. Piukala also confirmed that extra 242 people are now believed to have the virus in addition to 259 cases reported last week.

He claimed the number of people likely to have the Zika virus is rising including three pregnant women . There has been worldwide reports that pregnant women are among the most vulnerable ones to catching the infection.

Hon. Piukala reassures the public that although the Zika virus has been reported worldwide it can cause brain damage to unborn babies but this has yet scientifically proven.

For that reason, he called on the general public to join the nationwide effort to destroy breeding grounds of mosquitoes especially at home.

In the past few days, Tonga has receiving some rainfall and Dr. Piukala alerts the public that mosquitoes can breed quickly after the rain.

“After the rain, it takes about a week for a larvae to become a mosquito. During the dry season, the breeding period takes up to 8 months,” explained Hon. Piukala.

The Minister of Health also acknowledges the hard work and joint effort between Government ministries and town and district officers in launching the nationwide cleaning up campaign.

The most common symptoms of the disease are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes).

Taking Panadol, drink heaps of fluid and have a good rest is the only cure of the Zika virus.

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