Zika Virus Update: Local Transmission now at 5 cases

Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez, has made public the latest information on the transmission of the Zika virus within the Cayman Islands. "Since the last update of Wednesday, 17 August 2016, ten additional results have been received from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA); two of which returned positive,” Dr. Williams-Rodriguez said.He explained a male and female patient, both residents of George Town, have no reported travel history to any of the countries where there is currently an outbreak of the Zika virus. “It is therefore concluded that these cases have been locally transmitted, bringing cases of local transmission of the Zika virus within the Cayman Islands to five,” he explained. “The number of imported cases remains unchanged at six.”The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported the global risk assessment has not changed, with the Zika virus spreading where competent vectors are present. Dr. Williams-Rodriguez explained we are therefore likely to see an increase in both the local and imported cases of the Zika virus to and within the Cayman Islands.“Jointly, the Public Health Department and the Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU), would like to reaffirm that decisive and immediate action to protect the population has been undertaken,” he said. “Reducing the risk of people being bitten by Zika infected mosquitoes is the most effective way to prevent persons from getting the virus, and continued efforts by both departments have sought to do just that.”Director of the MRCU Dr. Bill Petrie noted, "Vector control measures are scaled up in the areas identified with local transmission, and efforts continue to ensure the public is aware of how to protect themselves from bites and how to eliminate mosquito breeding sites.”Dr. Williams-Rodriguez added that in addition to ongoing public education, special town hall meetings are being organised to address concerns specially relating to microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome, caused by the Zika virus.A fact sheet designed for pregnant women that addresses these concerns is being drafted and will be made accessible to the public.  Public service announcements will also be utilised. On 15 August 2016, the Cayman Islands began testing only those persons for the Zika virus who have no travel history to countries with outbreaks. Pregnant women who are symptomatic will be tested regardless of their travel history.For more advice on mosquito control, contact the Mosquito Research and Control Unit on 949-2557 in Grand Cayman, or 948-2223 on Cayman Brac; and the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) on 949-6696 in Grand Cayman, or 948-2321 in Cayman Brac. For further information on Zika, please contact the Public Health Department at 244-2648 or 244-2621. Sidebar for Pregnant Women: Pregnant women in general, including those who develop symptoms of Zika virus infection, should see their health-care provider for close monitoring during their pregnancy. The Zika virus has been detected in breast milk, but there is currently no evidence that the virus is transmitted to babies through breastfeeding.Those planning a pregnancy should wait at least eight weeks before trying to conceive if no symptoms of Zika virus infection appear, or six months if one or both members of the couple are symptomatic. Source:  http://www.who.int/features/qa/zika/en/