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Caribbean health agency: Zika risk ‘low’

By Gay Nagle Myers From Travel Weekly

The risk of contacting the Zika virus in the Caribbean region now is “low,” according to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (Carpha).

Following a review of data over the past 30 months, Carpha said in a statement that the virus transmission has been “interrupted.”

Its regional laboratory continues to test samples for mosquito-borne diseases, including Zika and the Dengue and Chikungunya viruses. But tests have shown a dramatic decrease in Zika from 2016 to the current situation, where no cases have been confirmed among samples tested over the past year.

The number of reported cases of Zika, which was first detected in the Caribbean in 2015, peaked in the fall of 2016 and began to fall off by December of that year. However, concerns regarding Zika, especially that a Zika infection contacted during pregnancy could be a cause of microcephaly in babies, resulted in a dip in tourism in the islands where many cases occurred, especially Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

Carpha said that there is still a need to be vigilant, and the agency said it continued to work closely with public health partners, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “to find innovative ways of mosquito control.”

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IMAGE: New Scientist Zika virus


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