Third Zika case transmitted in George Town

| 18/08/2016 | 58 Comments
Cayman News Service

Aedes aegypti mosquito

(CNS): A George Town woman has become the third patient to test positive for Zika who does not have a travel history to a country where there has been an outbreak of the virus. Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriguez said that several more patients have been tested for the virus and another positive result was received for a female resident. He said that since the last update on Tuesday, 9 August, eight more results for Zika virus have been received from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), one of which was positive.

The case is assumed to be another local transmission, bringing the total cases to six cases where the virus was acquired overseas and three locally transmitted in Cayman.

“The World Health Organization is advising that in geographical areas where local circulation of the Zika virus is already established, it is recommended that a fraction of all suspected cases detected during each week (ideally 10%) be confirmed by laboratory tests,” he added.

Going forward, local health officials will only test people for the Zika virus who have no travel history to countries with outbreaks.

Dr William Petrie, the director of the Mosquito Research Control Unit, said the MRCU continued to communicate with the Public Health Department to ensure a proactive approach was taken. The unit is currently carrying out additional mosquito control operations in the George Town area due to the fact that all three locally transmitted cases have been confirmed in that area.

“I would remind residents to check their premises regularly and remove water in buckets, plant pot saucers, discarded tyres etc., as these are the favoured breeding sites of the Aedes aegypti mosquito,” Dr Petrie said.

With the cooperation of the Cayman Islands Airport Authority (CIAA), the Public Health Department has also increased its community education on the Zika virus, by installing banners at the arrival and departure areas of the Owen Roberts International Airport and the check-in hall at the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport on Cayman Brac.

These banners advise residents what measures they can take to prevent being bitten by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes during travel overseas. A ‘frequently asked questions’ document and fact sheet is also being updated and will be circulated across the three islands, made accessible on the Department of Public Health page on the Health Services Authority website

All practicing physicians, both public and private, have received guidance on Zika testing for pregnant women, as per the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) guidelines.

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 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.

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Comments (58)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    “Going forward, local health officials will only test people for the Zika virus who have no travel history to countries with outbreaks.” Eh WOT?
    Only 10% of “all suspected cases detected during each week……..(will be)…confirmed by laboratory tests,”????

    • Anonymous says:

      Because it costs money and time to test, and what is the point? It is already an established fact that it is being transmitted locally. What will be achieved by testing everyone returning from overseas with symptoms? Yup, you got Zika!

      Considering the fact that only about 20% of infected people have symptoms, it is conservative to multiply the known number of cases (both local and imported) by at least 5.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Good Day,

    Could someone please provide a list of symptoms of the Zika virus? What happens to a person’s body if they are infected?


    Afraid to be bitten

    • Anonymous says:

      Most people who are infected have no or few symptoms. Otherwise the most common signs and symptoms of Zika fever are fever, rash, conjunctivitis (red eyes), muscle and joint pain, and headache, which are similar to signs and symptoms of dengue and chikungunya fever. The time from a mosquito bite to developing symptoms is not yet known, but is probably a few days to a week. The disease lasts for several days to a week and is usually mild enough that people do not have to go to a hospital.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Can’t this be solved with frogs, bats, birds and spiders? Why introduce GMO Mosquitos when there is a natural alternative.

    • Anonymous says:


      I suggest you do a little bit of research on mosquito borne diseases, such as Malaria,Yellow Fever, Dengue etc. before assuming there is a workable “natural alternative”. We have loads of frogs, bats, birds and spiders, as do countries like Brazil where Zika is rampant.

      Other diseases such as Sleeping Sickness, Elephantiasis, Polio, Smallpox, and the bubonic plague of Europe (the list is immense) spring to mind when considering a “natural” alternative approach. You are a child of a world in which the vast majority of crippling diseases have been eradicated or severely limited by the appropriate use of scientific methods.


  4. Anonymous says:

    If there is so much confidence in this project put the GM mozzies in the heart of George town where all the people, businesses and tourists are and where Zika is local to prove your so said confidence and theory this will work. Or are you scared? Scared of the unknown consequences, scared of the backlash if it went wrong and the ruin of an entire country. Yip I would be scared too to have that on my head and be sued for the consequences. We not Brazil here where the buck can be passed onto something else like larvicide. One way or another GM mozzies causing the pandemic will be proven and no better ‘testing’ ground than heart of the city in Grand Cayman. Go Oxiec and Government, prove your theory for fame and glory or shame and ruin. Either one is possible. Neither is proven.

    • Anonymous says:

      sounds good, let’s do a swap, new dump in westbay, and GT will have the GM mossies

    • Anonymous says:

      “One way or another GM mozzies causing the pandemic will be proven”

      That is a complete crock of shit. If you wish to be taken seriously, please at least establish a posting name so I can identify you in the future.

      Zika is causing problems in Brazil many hundreds (thousands) of miles from any releases of a GM mosquito that flies at best a few hundred yards, and dies within a few weeks at most.

      I predicted in this forum a few weeks ago the local transmission of Zika, (see The Doomsday Scenario), not because I am clairvoyant, but because science and statistics are my foundation. The anti-GM critics derided me.

      For those of you reading who don’t know the history, Oxitec chose the site in West Bay many months ago to conduct an experimental scientific release, as well as monitoring a similar control area (in accordance to accepted scientific methodology). I know this because I attended one of their lectures There were no Zika cases in Cayman at that time.

      I can pretty much guarantee you though that if Zica had first occurred in West Bay (God forbid, in this area), that these Luddites would be proclaiming that this was absolute proof that the GM mosquitoes were causing Zika!

      Well Zika arrived in George Town first, so now it is a matter for these “empty vessels” to try to discredit the Oxitec test trial in West Bay, using the 20/20 hindsight of the George Town outbreak as ammunition!


      • Anonymous says:

        So release your miracle GM Mosquitoes in George town and tell people specifically what the area is in George town so they can avoid it. Or are you afraid to face the truth Truthseeker? Circumstances have changed. West Bay is not needed, George town is, why heal an arm when the leg is broken? Idiotic at best.

        • Anonymous says:

          Sorry, I don’t have any mosquitoes, GM or otherwise and I have no knowledge of where in George Town is the outbreak area. Your attack is misdirected.

          What I do know is that the West Bay releases are part of a carefully planned trial, which if successful will likely be expanded to cover the entire island.


          • Anonymous says:

            What point will that be when people leave due to Zika in central George town. West bay and anywhere else become irrelevant. They already pre-purchased and paid for the entire island so that is a no brainer. But they avoiding town because they know there will be backlash if it goes wrong and GM mosquitoes could be blamed for increased accounts of Zika due to additional GM FEMALE mosquitoes that get missed in releases and can bite and can transmit disease and Zika.

  5. Like a spouse being sick and not wanting to go to the doctor...aren't they still sick? says:

    @ 18/08/2016 at 8:59 pm, I believe that it is less like “George Town Patient #2” being untruthful about her travel history, and more like the Cayman Islands Government being untruthful in the factual reporting of these incidents.

    The government knows (and it is easy for Immigration to confirm) that “George Town Patient #3” recently returned from Jamaica and was scared when her arms were covered in a rash when she broke out with the Zika virus in Town.

    Also, Dr. Petrie was observed leaving the George Town Hospital in such a hurry on the 17th August, the day prior to the government’s press release. One can always speculate that stories were being drafted and matched, since global eyes are on the Cayman Islands watching what’s going on with the release of genetically modified mosquitoes.

    But it is a FACT that the government is allegedly playing word games such as “a country where there has been an outbreak of the virus”, because what does this actually mean?

    Does it mean that Jamaica did NOT have any NEW reported cases during this instant reporting period?

    And if the government is now refusing to test those who present to the George Town Hospital who have Zika symptoms AND a travel history, just to avoid having to report the true occurrences of Zika in the Cayman Islands because of the worldwide spotlight that we are in, what use is their press releases anyhow?

    Government has already reported to the world how “unflinchingly” they are in being pioneers in their support of tackling the Zika virus, so it is easy to see how they do NOT want the INCONVENIENT TRUTH of a Cayman Islands explosion of Zika in the way of their press releases.

    Therefore, I believe that the information that the press releases contain will be skewed, just like in Patient #3’s case, to avoid having to report additional people who are infected so that the Cayman Islands will be taken off of the CDC travel advisory, especially since our tourism arrival statistics fell for the first quarter of the year.

  6. Conerned pregnant woman says:

    I do not understand why they won’t release the exact area of the transmissions. They did so in Miami and it helps people understand the risks. George Town is a pretty big area for those of us who live in it and it would help if we knew the area where these people lived. I don’t want their precise address but a road or more refined area would really help those of us who desperately need to avoid Zika. Is it all in the same area? Is it spread out? Since only 1 in 5 people show symptoms this could help us understand how widespread the issue could be? Also would love to know when this woman was symptomatic? Is it also back in the middle of July?

    • Under the mango tree says:

      I take this Zika virus seriously. I keep a bottle of Off in my car at all times as well as in my home. I don’t jog on the roads I go to the gym and most importantly I pray for protection and good health.

    • Anonymous says:

      I guess that everyone who was watching CNN over the best few days would have seen that the US Governement has warned pregnant women to stay away from the affected area in Florida.

      I hope those persons with half-baked, uninformed ideas have taken note.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with 9:34 why all the secrecy. It is the same when a crime is committed and the public could provide timely information. I feel like Im living in a third world dictatorship. The people who live in the area deserve to know so they can take special precautions and clean up around their homes. The public health dept. should be held accountable

  7. MM says:

    Well I will be driving around and writing down the physical addresses of homes that have enormous amounts of containers, garbage, tires, derelict cars and all the rest of it and emailing that list to DEH. Government can rent dumpsters for as little as $200 a load, drop them in to these trash-filled neighborhoods and make people throw their crap in it and clean up yards! I have also seen a lot of flooded areas in BT that are infested with mosquito larvae, apparently I will have to go toss a few chlorine tablets or something in to these seasonal ponds myself.

    Also, drill holes in the bottom of your outdoor plastic garbage bins!

    This “na no joke ting” anymore.

  8. anonymous says:

    NECSI also suggested, “An alternative cause of microcephaly in Brazil could be the pesticide pyriproxyfen, which is cross-reactive with retinoic acid, which causes microcephaly, and is being used in drinking water.”

    CNS can you find out if pestcide pyriproxyfen is being used in the Cayman islands.

  9. Anonymous says:

    11 comments on Zika in the main city of Grand Cayman with possibility and been on the verge of a plague and country filled with birth defects and 40 comments on the dump and the removal of tyres. Baffles my mind where peoples concerns in Cayman lie. Just shows people either don’t have priorities, are in denial, don’t care or are plain stupid!

    • anonymous says:

      Zero comments on sexual abuse of children.
      Zika should be the last of your concerns.

      • anonymous says:

        Yes, it is not either/or. I am concerned about all of the above — Zika, child abuse, the dump, etc.

        There have been many comments written about these other subjects.

        If you are belittling the impact of Zika you must have little empathy for the families and new lives that could be affected.

        It is very unhelpful for you to suggest that the public should not be concerned about Zika — hopefully this concern is not too late for some family and new life right here in Cayman.

        • MM says:

          Tires hold stagnant water and are an ideal breeding ground for mozzies – the number of comments on the dump and on zika articles cannot indicate whether are not we are ALL really b!tched out about both topics.

    • Anonymous says:

      But both issues are major – you get that right? I’m concerned about Zika, but I’m also concerned about the dump. Both affect me and my future family.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Maybe we’d pay attention to the similar actions taken in Brazil.

    Mosquito. Disease Threat. GM mosquito release. Outbreak. Pesticide spraying for the aedes agypti mosquitoes that they said were immune to the pesticide in the first place. Birth defects. Mosquitoes gets more blame. Pharmaceutical, chemical and GM mosquito companies make billions of dollars ruining millions of lives.

    And the Fla. Governor and many other politicians live luxurious lives from Tekken on investments, stock increase contract kickbacks.

    Neil Armstrong sang “What a Wonderful World”.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dude..Really!? Lois Armstrong, not Neil!

      • Anonymous says:

        Need that damn like button back cns….

        CNS: Sorry, technical glitch. I’ve got the like/dislike button back but it will take a bit longer to get the troll and LOL buttons back.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Dr. Fatima Marinho, director of information and health analysis at Brazil’s ministry of health, told the journal Nature, “We suspect that something more than Zika virus is causing the high intensity and severity of cases. Nearly 90 Percent of Brazil Microcephaly Cases Occurred in the Northeast.

    12,000 Zika Cases Confirmed in Pregnant Colombian Women — Zero Microcephaly Cases.

    • Anonymous says:

      Five new confirmed microcephaly cases in Colombia may be harbingers of epidemic

      Colombia reports 32 cases of Zika-linked birth defects

      • anonymous says:

        From the link you provided
        “According to the NECSI analysis, it and the five other reported cases of microcephaly with Zika infections were consistent with the random co-occurence of each of them separately, and therefore should not be attributed to Zika as the cause.”

        • anonymous says:

          WHO Expert: Zika Response ‘Completely Hysterical’

          Florence Fouque, a World Health Organization (WHO) expert on animals that carry viruses, called the public response to the Zika virus “completely hysterical.”

          • Anonymous says:

            Really I don’t see anyone laughing and I doubt you will be when your child is born with defects and disabilities for life encompassing 24 hr care to never be independent. This is no laughing matter but a tragedy!

      • anonymous says:

        @7.05 pm
        Below is from the first link you provided. An example of taking sentences out of context.

        “Using this data, an analysis revealed the rate of microcephaly to be what would be expected in any area, whether Zika is in the picture or not, which is 2 cases in 10,000 births.7 According to NECSI:8

        “This gives a consistent interpretation that there is no direct link between Zika and microcephaly except for random co-occurrence.

        We note that the base rate of microcephaly in the absence of Zika is 140 per year in Colombia, which is consistent with the approximately 50 microcephaly cases in the first [four] months of 2016, only [four] of which have been connected to Zika. When interpreting Zika as the cause, background cases must be subtracted.”

        By June 2016, 11 total microcephaly cases had been reported in women with Zika infections in Colombia. If Zika and microcephaly are linked, NECSI pointed out that the total number of microcephaly cases should rise dramatically in the next few months, reaching more than 10 microcephaly-Zika births each week.

        NECSI also suggested, “An alternative cause of microcephaly in Brazil could be the pesticide pyriproxyfen, which is cross-reactive with retinoic acid, which causes microcephaly, and is being used in drinking water.”

        • Anonymous says:

          19/08 at 6:04 am — please, “could be” — NECSI does not know either!

          There are many causes of microcephaly — Zika has been shown to be so closely associated that no one should be taking any chances.

          I dont think your posts are very helpful! if one case is caused by Zika it is too much!

          We can control for Zika — let us do something about it and stop iffing and butting in this unhelpful way.

    • Anonymous says:

      WHO did an audit of outbreaks in Africa and French Polynesia a few years ago and there were abnormally high instances of microcephaly correlating positively to the time of the outbreaks. How do you respond to these facts? Or those from Panama, Colombia and other Latin American countries right now?

      • anonymous says:

        There is no way to convince you otherwise once you set your mind on something. Get a life, don’t worry about something that most certainly won’t affect you.
        Or move to Antarctica.

        • anonymous says:

          10:34 am, 19/08 — seriously? is this the best you can do? So we should only worry about something if it affects us personally?

    • Anonymous says:

      According to one Internet source:

      ” Mosquitoes can’t fly very far or very fast. Most mosquitoes can fly no more than about one to three miles, and often stay within several hundred feet of where they were hatched.”

      Can the media/politicians/Premier please get the authorities to pinpoint the area in GT where the cases are occurring? It would
      1. help the persons in those areas to take extra precaution
      2. ensure the rest of us stay away.

      Also, I agree with one poster than not just MRCU but all of government agencies that can help should get into this area/these areas and see what can be done to alleviate pre-disposing conditions. For example,

      1. do they have screens? If not, get screens into place.
      2. giveaway deet spray
      3. advise each household on symptoms, precautions, and where can get free medical assessments. Many of these people may not go to doctor — no dinero.

      Then, begin to target similarly other vulnerable areas.

      If we want to beat this thing we need to be proactive.

      I agree it is late, but better late than never. We can still avert disaster.

      • Anonymous says:

        And 7:12 am, 19/08, inspect the environment and do what is necessary to reduce environmental risks.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please cease and desist with these unhelpful reports that “suspect something more than Zika”. (Note, you give no date of this report which may actually be so old that it is now vastly inaccurate in its assumptions — and I mean “assumptions”, given that he “suspects.”)

      And you are likely referencing an out-of-date source of information: from a July 2016 report, nine months into the Zika outbreak in Colombia, “authorities have linked 18 cases of microcephaly, with 112 under investigation, to the Zika virus.” (Washington Post, 13 July). (There is such extremely strong association between Zika virus and microcephaly that the WHO and CDC have “confirmed” Zika as a cause).

      True, Colombia has not seen the anticipated wave of microcephaly — and this is good news for Cayman. It could be that the virus load may make a difference — and that is sort of intuitive — that the higher the virus load, the more at risk pregnant women are.

      Yes, yes, it is a theory — but at this stage, I would do everything possible against being bitten at all, and, women, if there is any chance at all that your partner may have been infected, abstain or take the usual steps to avoid infection.

      The Lancet medical journal carried a later in July 2016 that stated that “Zika virus may remain in semen longer than previously thought: The Zika virus has been found in one man’s semen 93 days after he first reported symptoms, topping the previous record of 62 days.”

  12. Anonymous says:

    The GM mosquitos were released in West Bay first because we need to save the balance of the population down here.

    Half of the population is almost dead due to drugs, alcohol and laziness due to government hand outs.

    Go any day of the week to the pink store next to the police station, Republic Supermarket, Cuban Restaurant, Four Way Junction, across from Joe Ena Liquor Store, Botabano Plaza, Bakery in Mount Pleasant, West Bay Public Beach Kelly Bar, Pop A Top Bar, Fire Corner next at Super C’s and you will see all of the above.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Those businesses and households employing live-out nannies, cleaners, caregivers, tradesmen, construction workers Etc from “urban shanty zones” should really get proactive about providing coils, deet repellant, window screening and anything else that can be extended to protect and care for their disadvantaged staff and their families. The many folks living in cheap cramped conditions without a/c and running potable water will be the patient-zeroes for the spread to the rest of Grand Cayman – and to those in their ivory towers that currently perceive this as someone else’s unfortunate problem.

  14. Anonymous says:

    It’s discouraging that we are always so far behind the ball on easy and logical preventative and proactive efforts. How many months have all these various depts had to anticipate the inevitable and print materials?!? I’ve questioned the lack of materials for months! MRCU (who do a fine job) are now a month behind on that GT neighborhood containment because their fellow civil servants that somehow correctly diagnosed ZIKA symptoms at Hospital failed to bother to ask if the patient had travelled. What has happened to that staff member?!? Can they please be removed or sanctioned from our health services frontline? Can we even quantify the economic impact on GDP due to that halfrate effort?!? Where is the apology from the hospital?!?

    • Anonymous says:

      3.40pm Has it been confirmed that someone forgot to ask that question? Perhaps the patient was shall we say, less than truthful when answering .

  15. Sharkey says:

    Now that release of GM mosquitoes sounds like someone treating their broken arm , but putting their leg in the cast . Or there are a stud in George town.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Which areas of George Town were these cases from? Were they all from same area?

  17. Jim says:

    CNS: Which part of George Town? Was this near the dump or landfill? Was this in a neighborhood Prospect area? Was this by the Truman Bodden Sports complex? Where?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Yip the clever people will, the rest will be left holding the baby…

  19. Anonymous says:

    If Zika is in George town why are they not releasing GM mosquitoes there instead of West Bay?

    • Anonymous says:

      Because some people rather poison than the cure.

    • Maximus says:

      Government/Private Sector need to deal with Mt Trashmore as a matter of urgency.

      Just think; right now, we have all of those tyres lying around… in rainy season… collecting water… in the peak breeding season for mosquitoes… and we have a Zika outbreak… This is a recipe for disaster!

      We need to face facts, this is going to cost money to sort out. A lot of money. Concessions will need to be made on both sides. MLA Reps, Ms Doak, I implore you to work out a deal that works to the benefit of all parties as soon as possible.

      This cannot be allowed to affect the global perception of the Island. Ramifications on the Tourism industry would be catastrophic, and may take a considerable amount of time and resources to change should the island become associated with Zika.

  20. Anonymous says:

    You better skip town or else

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