CARIBBEAN: Zika virus spreads to St Croix, USVI

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CARIBBEAN: Zika virus spreads to St Croix, USVI

Mosquito_Tasmania_cropCARIBBEAN NEWS NOW – The US Virgin Islands Department of Health on Friday confirmed a case positive for zika virus in a 42-year-old woman with no history of previous travel during the incubation period of the virus.

The Department of Health’s epidemiologist, Dr Esther Ellis stated, “We are asking healthcare providers to submit suspected cases to the Department of Health using the chik report form via fax to 340-718-1508. The providers have all received this form in advance, as well as detailed instructions.

We have conducted trainings at both hospitals and have been working with providers to identify the symptoms of the zika virus. We also want to stress to all pregnant women to seek medical attention in the event that you are experiencing any symptoms and use all means to prevent mosquito bites.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a statement earlier this week noting, “Zika virus infection should be considered in patients with acute onset of fever, maculopapular rash, arthralgia or conjunctivitis, who traveled to areas with ongoing transmission in the two weeks prior to illness onset. Clinical disease usually is mild. However, during the current outbreak, zika virus infections have been confirmed in several infants with microcephaly and in fetal losses in women infected during pregnancy.

We do not yet understand the full spectrum of outcomes that might be associated with infection during pregnancy, nor the factors that might increase risk to the fetus. Additional studies are planned to learn more about the risks of zika virus infection during pregnancy.”

Healthcare providers are encouraged to report suspected zika virus disease cases to the Department of Health to facilitate diagnosis and to mitigate the risk of local transmission. State health departments are requested to report laboratory-confirmed cases to CDC. CDC is working with states to expand zika virus laboratory testing capacity, using existing protocols.

The CDC health advisory includes information and recommendations about zika virus clinical disease, diagnosis, and prevention, and provides travel guidance for pregnant women and women who are trying to become pregnant. Until more is known and out of an abundance of caution, pregnant women should consider postponing travel to any area where zika virus transmission is ongoing.

Pregnant women who do travel to these areas should talk to their doctors or other healthcare providers first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip. Women trying to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare providers before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.

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