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Four Suspected Cases Of Zika Under Investigation

Public Health Department

GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman (GIS) -- Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez, has notified the Ministry of Health that four (4) blood samples were sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad to test for the Zika virus on Wednesday, 22 June.

The samples were drawn after three residents and one visitor presented with symptoms consistent with Zika V. Three of the four samples taken have travel history to known countries where there is an outbreak. The Public Health Department is in contact with the fourth person to ascertain travel history. Samples will also be tested for chikungunya and dengue as well.

“The CARPHA has been notified and we are advised that they will prioritise these cases and will revert with the results as a matter of urgency”, said Dr. Williams-Rodriguez.

As of 15 June 2016, cases of Zika have been confirmed in 60 countries, including countries/territories in the Caribbean.

While public health officials wait for the test results, MRCU confirmed it is taking additional control measures in the areas where the patients live.

Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin, Minister for Health, said: “The Government has been closely monitoring this situation as its incidence has continued to increase across the region.”

He added: “I assure all residents that the Department of Public Health and the Mosquito Research and Control Unit are working together, keeping a close watch, and have increased their vigilance and mosquito control efforts to minimise the population of the vector mosquito.”

“Regardless of the outcome, the public is being reminded to employ protective measures against mosquito bites locally or during their travels. Use mosquito repellants containing DEET on skin and clothing, and when outdoors during times that mosquitoes are biting, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks,” Dr. Williams-Rodriguez added.

Zika, along with chikungunya and dengue, is primarily transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is an invasive species in the Cayman Islands, and which bites in daylight hours.

“People can greatly assist in reducing the local Aedes aegypti population by clearing their yards of containers that can hold water as these are favourite breeding sites for this mosquito,” MRCU Director Dr. William Petrie said.

For more advice on how to control mosquitoes in your yard, contact the MRCU on 949-2557 in Grand Cayman, or 948-2223 in Cayman Brac; and DEH on 949-6696 in Grand Cayman, or 948-2321 in Cayman Brac.