Zika Virus Update as of 30 May 2016
Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Samuel Williams Rodriguez, wishes to advise that as of Monday, 30 May, there are no reported or confirmed cases of Zika virus in the Cayman Islands.
Sixty countries worldwide have reported continuing Zika virus since 2015, with ongoing transmission by mosquitoes, according to the World Health Organization.
A downward trend of cases of Zika virus disease in Central and South America continues to occur, while in most Caribbean countries and territories the trend continues to rise according to Public Health, United Kingdom.
“This current information on trends in the Americas and the Caribbean reinforces the fact that our best efforts must go into continued implementation of mitigation measures for the Zika virus and we continue to applaud the Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) and their efforts to control and eventually eliminate the Aedes aegypti mosquito in the Cayman Islands,” noted Dr Williams-Rodriguez.
There is still growing evidence that Zika virus infection during the first and second trimesters is associated with microcephaly. While the risk during the third trimester is unknown, the virus should be considered a risk throughout the duration of pregnancy. Therefore, male travellers returning from areas with ongoing Zika virus cases should consider using condoms correctly and consistently with their pregnant partner until the end of the pregnancy.
The presence of viable Zika virus in semen has been detected up to 24 days after onset of Zika virus symptoms. All current cases reported to be sexually transmitted have been linked to symptomatic cases. Pregnant women continue to be cautioned to postpone non-essential travel to countries where there is an established and ongoing outbreak of the Zika virus.
Ten countries have now reported evidence of sexual transmission (person-to-person) of the Zika virus, other than mosquito-borne transmission.
While there are no confirmed cases of the Zika virus in the Cayman Islands, Dr. Williams-Rodriguez would like to remind the public that the dengue fever and chikungunya viruses are still circulating within the Caribbean region.
Since January 2016, 32 patients have been tested for Zika, chikungunya and/or dengue. A total of 75 tests have been performed on blood samples from these persons. There are five results pending.
MRCU Director, Dr. Bill Petrie, commented: “The Oxitec project to dramatically reduce the numbers of this mosquito continues. At the same time members of the public can protect themselves from its bite by removing any containers that can hold water from their yards.”
For further information contact the Public Health Department on 244-2621 or the MRCU on 949-2557.
Facts from WHO
- Since the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (the primary vector for transmission) are day-biting mosquitoes, it is recommended that those who sleep during the daytime, particularly young children, the sick or elderly, should use insecticide-treated mosquito nets to provide protection. Mosquito coils or other insecticide vaporizers may also reduce the likelihood of being bitten.
- During outbreaks, space spraying of insecticides may be carried out periodically to kill flying mosquitoes. Suitable insecticides (recommended by the WHO Pesticide Evaluation Scheme) may also be used as larvicides to treat relatively large water containers.
- Basic precautions for protection from mosquito bites should be taken by people travelling to high risk areas, especially pregnant women. These include use of repellents, wearing light-coloured, long sleeved shirts and pants, and ensuring rooms are fitted with screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering.
- WHO does not recommend any travel or trade restriction to Puerto Rico based on the current information available.
Source: World Health Organization (WHO)
Countries and territories in the Americas reporting confirmed and suspected cases of Zika virus disease in pregnant women.
Barbados, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Ecuador, Martinique, Saint Martin
Bolivia , El Salvador, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, French Guiana , Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guadeloupe Panama, Dominica, Guatemala, Paraguay.
Source: Public Health Agency, UK