Cayman Still Zika Free
Statement on Investigated Case of Zika Virus in the Cayman Islands
Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez has provided an update on the investigation of a reported case of Zika virus in the Cayman Islands.
“I wish to advise the public and all concerned that the investigation is now complete. The following is an outline of the investigation:
“A female individual who resides in Amsterdam, Netherlands, visited the Cayman Islands from 13 April to 18 May 2016. During this time her partner, a resident of St. Maarten, also visited the Cayman Islands from 6 May for 11 (eleven) days and presented with symptoms typical of the Zika virus on 10 May but did not seek medical attention. Her symptoms (mild) appeared between 11 and 13 May and likewise, she did not seek medical attention locally. She travelled back to the Netherlands on 18 May and became ill again on 20 May with symptoms suggestive of a viral illness (fever, tiredness) and two days later she developed symptoms typical of the Zika virus which included soreness, muscle and eye pain, red eyes and a skin rash. She sought medical attention in her home country and was tested for Zika, dengue, and chikungunya. Subsequently, she was advised by her attending physician that she was positive for the Zika virus.
“At this stage, taking into consideration her medical history and the visit from her partner from a country with a confirmed Zika virus outbreak, coupled with the fact that they stayed together for a period of one week after the onset of his symptoms, we conclude that this is a presumptive case of sexually transmitted Zika virus”.
“As the case was diagnosed in the Netherlands, it will be reported as an imported case for the Netherlands and not the Cayman Islands. The Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) is fully informed of the details surrounding this investigation and continues to take all the necessary measures to intensify vector control in the area where the couple stayed.
“I want to make it unequivocally clear that as of 7 June 2016, there are no confirmed cases of Zika virus in the Cayman Islands. I encourage all residents who have returned from an endemic country where there is an outbreak of the Zika virus and who present with symptoms, to contact their general practitioner. Similarly, residents who have no travel history to any country endemic to the Zika virus but who experience symptoms, especially skin rash, conjunctivitis (red eyes) and fever, should alert their general practitioner at once.”
Dr. Williams is also using the opportunity to remind the public that while the Zika virus is mainly transmitted through the Aedes aegypti mosquito, other modes of transmission, in particular sexual transmission, have been documented as in this particular circumstance. Though the numbers are small at this stage, there is strong epidemiological evidence of sexual transmission.
All men returning from where local transmission of Zika virus is known to occur are encouraged to adopt safer sexual practices or consider abstinence for at least four weeks after return.
For further information contact the Public Health Department on 244-2621.
Areas where Zika Virus is active.
Source: Public Health UK
Symptoms of the Zika Virus
The symptoms of the Zika virus are very similar to that of dengue and chikungunya; they include fever, muscle and joint pain, conjunctivitis, headache, nausea, and rash. There is no vaccine or treatment; however, symptoms (which last approximately four to seven days) are treatable.
To relieve fever and pain associated with the virus, it is recommended that persons drink lots of fluids and take pain relievers such as Paracetamol. Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should be avoided to reduce the risk of haemorrhage. Residents are also reminded that the infection may present itself as asymptomatic (showing no symptoms).
Symptoms usually appear following an incubation period of three to 12 days after the bite of an infected mosquito, lasting between four to seven days, and are self-limiting. Complications of the infection requiring hospitalisation are rare.