June 4, 2020

More Caribbean countries confirm Zika cases


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zika-st-lucia-1-1From CARIBflame

The Region continues to wrestle with the mosquito-borne Zika Virus and 15 countries have confirmed cases.

The region’s leading health body, the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Authority () has provided an update on Zika in the Caribbean and sounded warnings for environmental controls ahead of the annual rainy season, expected to begin in May this year. provides advice and laboratory testing for Caribbean countries.

In a video update, CARPHA’s Executive Director, Dr. James Hospedales, said there are a number of factors weighing against the Caribbean, including a very susceptible population.

“Our people have not met this virus before. We have widespread Aedes Egypti mosquitoes and we have a lot of travel in and out of the region. There is another factor – in many of our countries, in the next two months, the rainy season will begin and that will increase the possibility of breeding the mosquito,” he said.

He says the goal for all countries must be to reduce mosquito breeding, adding that men, particularly older men, are at a higher risk than women.

“The situation is evolving and every day, every week, we become more aware of different aspects of the spread of the disease,” he added.

A number of countries have stepped up vector control and fever surveillance activities.

Dominica confirmed its first case of Zika on March 16. The country’s Health Minister Dr. Kenneth Darroux said it was a locally transmitted case and the patient has made a full recovery. He said local surveillance will be heightened and clean-up campaigns stepped up.

Jamaica, which confirmed five cases of the virus, recently ramped up its Zika response, which includes a fogging blitz and a national clean-up program dubbed ‘Operation: Mosquito Search and Destroy.” The country’s National Emergency Operations Centre is coordinating the national Zika response.

Health officials in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,  say surveillance has been heightened throughout the country, with health promotion and vector control activities ongoing, while testing of samples from patients suspected to have the virus continues. That county has confirmed one case of Zika.

A statement from the says to date, 30 samples have been sent to CARPHA for testing and 28 results received. So far, there have been no additional positive results.

Zika has been confirmed in Barbados, Dominica, the , French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Martin, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago,

Last week, the United Nations Health Agency issued a new warning on the virus, saying that “the more we know, the worse things look.”

The World Health Organisation’s Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said that in under a year, the status of Zika has changed from ‘a mild medical curiosity’ to a disease with severe public health implications.



IMAGE: Environmental health officials conduct evening fumigation exercise in Saint Lucia/Photo: teleSUR

For more on this story go to: http://www.caribflame.com/2016/03/more-caribbean-countries-confirm-zika-cases/

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