First Local Zika Transmission

The Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez is advising of Cayman's first report of locally transmitted Zika Virus.The patient, a male who resides in George Town, reported an onset of symptoms on 25 July 2016. He visited a private medical office on 26 July 2016, and was referred to Cayman Islands Hospital where a sample was taken and sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for testing. No travel history has been noted for this individual to any of the countries where there is an outbreak, thus suggesting Zika was acquired locally.The Public Health Department also received from CARPHA confirmation of three (3) more imported cases of Zika virus disease; the total number of imported cases is now seven (7).Dr. Williams noted, "With the rapid and ongoing transmission of the Zika virus around the world, it is not an alarming fact that local transmission has reached our shores. However, now that it has, this is even more reason for each and every one to play their part in ensuring that the spread is highly contained."While our partners at the Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) continue to do an exemplary job using scientific and evidence based combat measures, simple tasks such as emptying water filled tyres or containers of standing water, and protecting one's self from being bitten my mosquitoes both locally and during travels will help to keep both imported and locally acquired cases of Zika at a minimum when compared to the global and regional situation".Globally, as at 3 August 2016, 68 countries and territories have reported evidence of mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission. Currently the main outbreak regions refer to South and Central America, the Caribbean and Oceania (Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia only). The United States of America reported local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission for the first time on 29 July, 2016, in Miami Dade and later in Broward; Cuba reported two cases of locally acquired Zika in the city of Hoguin on 3 August, and Vietnam reported one case of locally-acquired Zika virus in Phu Yen Province.The World Health Organization has concluded that, overall, the global risk assessment has not changed. Zika virus continues to spread geographically to areas where competent vectors are present. Although a decline in cases of Zika infection has been reported in some countries, or in some parts of countries, vigilance needs to remain high. At this stage, based on the evidence available, there is no overall decline in the outbreak.For more advice on mosquito control, contact MRCU on 949-2557 in Grand Cayman, or 948-2223 on Cayman Brac; and 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.Side Bar: What is the Zika virus?Zika disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. People with Zika virus disease can have symptoms including mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.There is scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly, a birth defect that may cause unusually small heads and brain damage in newborns, as well as Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological disorder that could lead to paralysis and death. Links to other neurological complications are also being investigated.Symptoms of Zika VirusZika virus usually causes mild illness. Symptoms most commonly include a slight fever or rash, appearing a few days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. Although many will not develop any symptoms at all, others may also suffer from conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, and feel tired.There is no known difference in the symptoms of infected pregnant and non-pregnant women.Source: World Health Organization (WHO)