Zika spreads through region, Cayman still clear

| 05/04/2016 | 9 Comments
Cayman News Service

Aedes aegypti mosquito

(CNS): As the Zika virus continues to spread thoughout the region, as of Monday, there are no reported or confirmed cases of Zika virus in the Cayman Islands. Noting that there are now 47 countries reporting active Zika transmission, Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriguez urged the public to take “an abundance of caution” to prevent being bitten by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Precautionary measures include reducing or eliminating contact between mosquitoes and people, and reducing the breeding of mosquitoes by removing breeding sites, using insect repellents containing DEET, as well as using of screens, closing doors and windows and wearing long clothing.

While the Zika Virus is mainly transmitted through Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, other modes of transmission in particular sexual transmission have been documented. Though the numbers are limited at this stage there is strong epidemiological evidence of sexual transmission.

“I encourage all men and women returning from where local transmission of Zika virus is known to occur in adopting safer sexual practices or consider abstinence for at least four weeks after return,” Dr Williams said. “This is especially true for women who are pregnant. As more information becomes available in respect of Zika virus and sexual transmission, I will endeavour to keep the public informed.”

Meanwhile, the Mosquito Research Control Unit is continuing its work on reducing the population of Aedes aegypti.

MRCU Director Dr William Petrie said, “We are encouraging members of the public to remain vigilant in continuing to check their yards twice per week to remove containers and potential breeding sites of the mosquito. While we may not be experiencing any cases of Zika, we do not want to become complacent.”

For further information contact the Public Health Department on 244-2621 or the Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) on 949-2557.

Countries and territories that have recently experienced or are currently experiencing local Zika virus transmission:

Country/Territory  Affected in the past 2 months Affected in the past 9 months
American Samoa Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Aruba Sporadic transmission Yes
Barbados Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Bolivia Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Brazil Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Bonaire Sporadic transmission Yes
Cape Verde Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Colombia Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Cuba Sporadic transmission Yes
Costa Rica Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Curaçao Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Dominica Sporadic transmission Yes
Dominican Republic Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Ecuador Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
El Salvador Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Fiji Sporadic transmission Yes
French Guiana Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Guadeloupe Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Guatemala Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Guyana Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Haiti Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Honduras Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Jamaica Sporadic transmission Yes
Kosrae Sporadic transmission Yes
Marshall Islands Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Martinique Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Mexico Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
New Caledonia Sporadic transmission Yes
Nicaragua Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Panama Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
​Papua New Guinea Sporadic transmission​ ​Yes
Paraguay Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Philippines Sporadic transmission Yes
Puerto Rico Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Saint Martin Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Sporadic transmission Yes
Samoa Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Sint Maarten Sporadic transmission Yes
Solomon Islands No Yes
Suriname Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Thailand Sporadic transmission Yes
Tonga Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Trinidad and Tobago Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Vanuatu No Yes
Venezuela Increasing or widespread transmission Yes
Viet Nam Sporadic transmission Yes
US Virgin Islands Increasing or widespread transmission Yes

 Source: Public Health England, updated March 31

 

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 (pink eye), 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 a lot 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.

Source: Public Health Department

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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (9)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Old tires represent 30% of A. Aegypti breeding sites in other countries, but one has to wonder about how many the Cayman dump tires harbour. Ironically a promising new trap, the “Ovillanta” employs old tires as part of the trap, and it’s cheap.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why the USA and other non-Caribbean countries are not on that list?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Why is it that deformed babies infected by the Zika virus, is only showing up in Brazil ?

    Why is it that no other babies are being born deformed, in other countries where the Zika virus is now located ?

    Zika virus was first identified in Africa in the 1940’s but yet no babies are deformed in this particular area of Africa, where a forest/jungle is named after the virus.

    Zika virus is real but personally I think it’s not this virus that is deforming babies, but some type of vaccination program or other medical experiment in rural areas of Brazil that went horribly wrong.

    The Zika virus is no different than the other mosquito diseases which can kill if not treated. However, scientists are feeding the media that this particular virus is causing deformities in babies, when in fact they were experimenting on poor pregnant women, who became human Guinea Pigs.

    • Anonymous says:

      4:44 — you raise some interesting questions that have been intriguing researchers, but one has to be careful not to jump to uninformed conclusions.

      A number of articles have attempted to explain the Brazil phenomenon, but not one has come up with your conclusion — linking the surge in birth defects to experimentation with vaccinations. What is your source for that information?

      If you do a little research you will find some early theories. And, by the way, other countries, such as Colombia, have also experienced Zika-related birth defects and we may find other countries reporting cases before this is all over, unfortunately.

      By now the link between the presence of the zika virus and the birth defects is so strong that I do not think that there is a whole lot of doubt that Zika is causing the birth defects.

      To your question as to why Brazil is showing this distressing upsurge in birth defects linked to zika: One theory is that zika had been going through the population of Brazil undetected for some time and now has become full blown. It was undetected because symptoms of zika virus infection are very similar to dengue and chikiungunya. In fact tests often confuse the three viruses. It was also undetected because of Brazil’s severe poverty, which also contributed to the intensity of the propagation of the Aedes aegypti mosquito and the spread of the mosquito-borne virus.

      Zika is also spread via sexual intercourse, and that could have compounded the intensity of the infection in an already vulnerable population.

      Another thing is that zika Is not limited to microcephaly but it also causes a range of neurological birth defects that may have been showing up but unrecognized.

      That is my layman’s take from my reading on this phenomenon. I agree that it is still early days in the unravelling of causation, and I am sure there is much more to be learned, but we should aim to access information as scientists investigate and not play a guessing game based on conjecture.

      • Anonymous says:

        8.52pm Lets hear all confirmed and un-confirmed opinions without judgment. Your theory is just your theory, just like everybody else’s. 4.44 has a valid point. I just want to add that agriculture in Brazil is heavily dependent on use of of tetracycline in its food animals..This meant that a small amount of tetracycline was being added from the food to the larvae and repressing the [designed] lethal system of genetically modified mosquitos.

        • Anonymous says:

          simply put, GM mosquitos don’t die as it was designed because of tetracycline, creating unforeseen consequences.

        • Anonymous says:

          Oh, dear, 8:20, tit tut, a little more careful reading might serve you better — those are not my theories — read again.

          As for someone being entitled to their own theory — sure, ok to hold to the theory that the earth is flat if you want, but that does not make it a “valid” theory.

          This is a serious discussion and lives can depend on it.

        • Anonymous says:

          8:20 am:as long as you have the basis on which to render an informed opinion.

  4. Anonymous says:

    A new published article on Zika has linked it to now nerve cell damage in humans which was unknown and has now open up a whole range of other deadly diseases such as encephalitis and others.

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