A group of volunteers from the village of Wigan have been sent to the capital city of New York to help fight the spread of the Zika virus.
The volunteers will assist in field trials and work with the New York State Department of Health to vaccinate New Yorkers and the surrounding area.
Wigan is a small village in the west of the country, but it has been hit hard by the pandemic, with some 80% of its population living in isolation.
The village of around 200 people is one of a number of areas across the country where residents have taken matters into their own hands to try to combat the virus.
They have set up a mobile unit called the Wigan Cell and will help with testing the population for the virus by collecting samples from people living in the area.
The group has already collected samples from more than a thousand people.
They are also planning to test some of the samples collected in Wigan.
Wigans deputy mayor of health Michael Bailes said the team was sending the volunteers to try and “get a feel” for how the local population was affected by the virus before they start working in New York.
“We are not worried about them getting infected with the virus,” he said.
“This is a really good opportunity for us to get a feel of what we might be dealing with in the community, what is the impact, how is it affecting the health of our population.”
Dr Bailles said the tests would give the village a “real feel” of how the population was being affected.
“It’s a really great opportunity for them to get some really basic, really basic knowledge about what they are dealing with,” he added.
Wigsfield is one village in Lancashire that has been affected by this pandemic.
The area is in the heart of the city, with many residents staying indoors.
However, some residents have gone out to work in the fields and have been collecting and testing samples for the team.
“I’ve got to say it is quite exciting.
It’s a bit like coming home.
We are just really excited,” said Wigsfield resident Linda Batson.”
You’ve got a family, you’ve got friends and you’ve still got a community.”
If we can get a bit more information on what’s going on, we can make a decision.
We just want to get it right, and it’s going to be really important we get that right.
“Dr Sam Goss, a specialist in infectious diseases at University College London, said the idea was to get people to see the importance of getting tested for the Zika strain before they began working in the city.”
To start with, you’re not going to get any benefit from it,” he explained.”
But you’re going to want to know that the virus is in your blood, that you have the virus, that it’s not spreading anywhere else, that there’s a vaccine available.
“The team is not the only group working to tackle the virus in the UK.
The Royal Society for Public Health and Tropical Medicine has also set up mobile teams to help the local community.
Dr Goss said it was important to recognise that there were other ways people could help, including working with their local council to raise awareness about the disease and to make sure they were taking steps to keep their homes and workplaces safe.”
The more we know about the virus and the more we get data on it, the more likely we are to be able to prevent the spread, the less we will have to worry about it,” Dr Goss explained.
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