Two more cases of Zika reported in capital

| 30/08/2016 | 25 Comments
Cayman News Service

Aedes aegypti mosquito

(CNS): Public health officials have confirmed that they have received two more positive Zika virus tests on blood taken from patients in George Town with no travel history. Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriguez said that since Wednesday 17 August, ten additional results have come in from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), with two being positive. There are now five locally transmitted cases of the virus in Cayman, all of them in George Town, including the couple with the latest positive results.

The number of imported cases remains unchanged at six, but now that Cayman is witnessing local transmission, the Public Health Department is no longer testing patients who have a travel history to countries already experiencing an outbreak. However, pregnant women who are symptomatic will be tested regardless of their travel history.

With the WHO confirming that the global risk assessment on the virus has not changed, Williams-Rodriguez said Cayman would see an increase in both the local and imported cases of the virus.

“Jointly, the Public Health Department and the Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) would like to reaffirm that decisive and immediate action to protect the population has been undertaken,” he said. “Reducing the risk of people being bitten by Zika infected mosquitoes is the most effective way to prevent persons from getting the virus, and continued efforts by both departments have sought to do just that.”

MRCU Director Dr Bill Petrie explained what the MRCU is doing to help reduce the spread: “Vector control measures are scaled up in the areas identified with local transmission, and efforts continue to ensure the public is aware of how to protect themselves from bites and how to eliminate mosquito breeding sites.”

At the end of July, the MRCU began its pilot project release of genetically modified Aedes aegyti mosquitoes in an effort to eradicate the virus carrying bug. So far, hundreds of thousands of the bio-engineered bugs have been released in a controlled area of West Bay and residents who spoke to CNS have all reported a significant decline in that type of mosquito.

The original plan to spread the pilot project across Grand Cayman includes releasing the GM mosquitoes in George Town but not until much later in the year. It is not clear if there are any plans to change that schedule and to begin releasing the adapted insect there sooner.

CNS has contacted the MRCU to ask how the West Bay project is going and for the current plans for the project’s expansion and we are awaiting a response.

In the meantime, in addition to ongoing public education, special town hall meetings are being organised to address concerns specially relating to microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome caused by the Zika virus, Dr Williams-Rodriguez.

A fact sheet designed for pregnant women that addresses these concerns is being drafted and will be made accessible to the public. There will also be public service announcements.

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 the 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.

Although there are now a growing number of reports disputing the connection between Zika and the birth defects, there are still concerns about the risk. Pregnant women in general, including those who develop symptoms of Zika virus infection, are still advised to see their healthcare provider for close monitoring during their pregnancy.

The Zika virus has been detected in breast milk, but there is currently no evidence that the virus is transmitted to babies through breastfeeding. Those planning a pregnancy should wait at least eight weeks before trying to conceive if no symptoms of Zika virus infection appear, or six months if one or both members of the couple are symptomatic. Source: World Health Organization

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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (25)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Not to fear the truth will come out soon enough, try as they will to blame zika and sell more chemicals and gmo bugs the truth is more likely worse at least for the chemical companys bottom line
    Zika: Brazil Admits It’s Not the Virus
    By Erin Elizabeth – August 22, 2016 5

  2. Anonymous says:

    It was windsor park and near popeyes.

  3. Anonymous says:

    So if only 1 in 5 people show symptoms of Zika virus, why are only symptomatic pregnant women being tested?!

    Isn’t it very likely then that there are a lot more Zika infections than what we know about, if we are only testing symptomatic people?

    This is why it will continue to spread: if the majority of infected persons do not show symptoms then they will not know that they are infected, and therefore will not take steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual transmission.

    In Miami, they went door to door and tested residents in the infected area and found more cases of people with Zika but who were asymptomatic. Why are we not doing that here?!

    • Jim says:

      Think of the cost

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m sure it would cost a lot less than that special quarantine building that was set up when the Ebola virus scare was happening not too long ago. Government’s response to that threat seemed quick (and thankfully, not needed in the end), so I think they could be doing more here for Zika.

        Note that they would only need to test those in a certain radius around suspected infection sites, taking into account that the aedes aegypti mosquito tends to fly only 100-500 metres, so this likely wouldn’t involve testing a lot of people.

  4. Sharkey says:

    Again no known cases of Zika in west bay , but keep releasing the GM mosquitoes in west bay . While the cases in George town is getting greater . I wonder what it is ?

  5. G.Towner says:

    @12:54 p.m.

    lol … concerned citizens and myself have been saying the same thing for weeks now. It seems like we are not allowed to know. Like was this near the dump or a public school, et cetera…

    I guess this is how “they” operate in Cayman

  6. Anonymous says:

    Can the Govt release the areas within GT where they suspect transmission has taken place? E.g. in Miami they have made public that all local transmission is within the Wynwood neighborhood. It will help the public and pregnant women take extra precautions if they know where the virus definitely is being spread.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is important that we know where in George Town because of the general range that these mosquitos inhabit. I thought the adult female has a range of 60 meters. they will of course slowly breed outside and the range gets extended but why not tell the country where in George Town.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Has transmission sexually, rather than by mosquito, been ruled out in any of these cases?

  8. Anonymous says:

    The decision by government to refuse to test people and to charge others $350 for the privilege smacks of an attempt to artificially manipulate the figures to suggest the problem is less serious than it is.

    Not very conducive to protecting the public.

  9. anonymous says:

    What is the severity of the Zika among diagnosed people? Light, mild, severe? How fast they recovered? Any long lasting health problems?

  10. Daniel Bodden says:

    Meanwhile Dwene and his crew are sitting around complaining and hindering the efforts to minimize the transmission of Zika. According to them, old fashioned smoke buckets will do a better job than GMOs.. while they eat their genetically modified cereal. Btw, where’s all of the negative effects that they we were certain to happen?

    Kill the mosquitoes! MRCU has been respected for decades and I will continue to support their efforts to benefit the public’s health.

  11. Captain Obvious says:

    The effects of this virus will be felt for generations…

    Very scary for all of us indeed.

    • Anonymous says:

      everything can be linked to Alzheimer and cancer and eventually death, which is in·es·cap·a·ble.
      When you eliminate Zika virus, something else will take its place. “Nature abhors a vacuum”.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Once again CNS airs the fringe opinion that Zika does not cause birth defects.

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