26 pregnant women now confirmed with Zika

By SNO Staff

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Dr. Merlene Fredericks - Chief Medical Officer  (left) and Nahum Jn Baptiste - National Epidemiologist (right).

Dr. Merlene Fredericks – Chief Medical Officer (left) and Nahum Jn Baptiste – National Epidemiologist (right).

The Health Ministry is reporting that the number of pregnant women affected by the Zika virus is now at 26.

This was disclosed by Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Marlene Fredericks during a press conference on Monday.

The CMO said that pregnant women showing signs of Zika are been monitored and tested.

While there have been no cases of microcephaly caused by Zika on the island so far, the ministry continues to monitor for any such possible cases.

“Studies and experiences in other countries have shown that there is a possibility that the baby may have abnormalities such as a small head and so its because of this possibility, we are monitoring the women closely at antenatal clinics throughout the health care sector both public and private,” Dr. Fredericks said.

The CMO said the ministry anticipates that the number of pregnant women who contracts Zika will increase.

“We would like to remind women of child bearing age and those pregnant, given the uncertainty, they are urged to take extra precaution in preventing themselves from being bitten,” she said

Prior to Zika, cases of microcephaly have been recorded in Saint Lucia. These cases however were unrelated to Zika. Some individuals infected with Zika may display no signs and symptoms of Zika.

Thus it is possible for a woman to go through her entire pregnancy showing no symptoms yet she could deliver a baby with microcephaly.

Dr. Fredericks said there has also been sufficient evidence to show that sexual transmission is also playing a significant role in the propagation of the Zika epidemic.

“We are asking men particularly to wear condoms during sexual activity to avoid the transmission of Zika virus, because it has been shown there is more evidence in males, the virus is still able to infect others… and it can remain in the semen for six months,” she explained.

Zika has also been linked to Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), a rare, neurological disorder which causes muscle weakness and, in severe cases, paralysis and breathing problems, and the Ministry of Health is therefore preparing hospitals across the country in the event that persons are diagnosed with that illness.

One person infected by that disease has shown signs of being infected with Zika and is currently being treated.

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10 comments

  1. "For Zika-infected pregnant women, estimates of the risk of birth defects range widely, from one per cent to thirty per cent. "

    (0)(0)
  2. Most of these officials do not have a clue of what is happening or what they are doing. They accept positions just for the recognition and titles and nothing else. that is one of the reasons why our society is so messed up.

    (1)(0)
  3. Theres going to be a lot of people with small heads around here soon.

    (4)(2)
  4. Somebody should be sued for dropping the ball on Saint Lucians! For a long time the authorities were failing to properly inform the public about the obvious prevalence of Zika in Saint Lucia--perhaps not wanting to scare tourists. But now they have to come clean because enough people are aware of the fact that Zika has spread throughout the island like wild fire and that a number of pregnant women were known to be battling the virus! No doubt many of those pregnant women were not aware that the virus was as prevalent as it really was--perhaps thinking that only 3 or 4 cases existed on island. Isn't it weird that the only formal report prior to now from the authorities was that only 3 or 4 cases of Zika have been confirmed in Saint Lucia? So how can they now explain that 26 pregnant women out of the blue are now confirmed with Zika? This is really an admission that hundreds or thousands of Zika cases are here on the island -- but the authorities totally dropped the ball on the public. Somebody should be held accountable for not properly informing the public! Or is it that our collective ineptitude is so bad that the authorities themselves did not know what was really going on!?

    (5)(1)
  5. Am I missing something? Why weren't we informed when there were only 5 or 10...Did I miss that?

    (12)(1)
  6. We go from 0 to 26 confirmed cases, I know many people caught it, including me but nothing was said, no warnings nothing. While zika is not that bad except for pregnant women, one would wonder were the response was before today.

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  7. Please look into exactly what the Ministry of Health is doing to prepare hospitals in the event of persons presenting with symptoms of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), because for the one person diagnosed they had to special order the medication from Martinique and charged a fee over $10,000 for the treatment. The company which manufacturers the treatment also has stated that there is a shortage of the immunoglobulin drug at this time. The medication will not cure the illness but it does hasten the recovery time.

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  8. Go Figure... After months of we st lucians asking only now the information is forthcoming.. Why are we always laid back?

    (8)(1)
    • We are laid back because heads never roll here. No one is accountable so they don't do what they are paid to do. I assure you if this was a civilised country that woman would've rightfully been on the breadline.

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  9. why worry DR. its just a mild virus 🙂

    (3)(3)

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