February 23, 2017: The Ministry of Health would like to report that the total number of confirmed cases of Zika since the onset of the epidemic on February 11th, 2016 has been 718 cases. Of these, 463 confirmed cases have been noted in pregnancy.
For the year 2017 there have been 4 confirmed births of babies with Microcephaly. Of these cases, 2 of the mothers tested positive for the Zika virus during the course of their pregnancy.
The Ministry is currently awaiting the test results to determine the cause of the other 2 cases of Microcephaly. This is in keeping with expected international rates of Zika related complications.
As such, the Ministry would like to remind the public, especially pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant, to adhere to the following guidelines to reduce the likelihood of contracting the Zika virus.
Members of the public are advised to take personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites including:-
· Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved clothes and pants that cover as much as the body as possible
· Utilize insect repellents to prevent bites
· Screen all windows, doors and ventilation blocks
· Use bed nets whenever possible whilst sleeping
· Eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites in and around your home.
Members of the public are advised that if you, your partner or members of your household are suspected or confirmed of having the Zika virus, please visit your nearest Health Centre to seek medical assistance. Persons are also advised to inform the Insect Vector Control Division at 612-IVCD (4823).
The Ministry of Health also maintains close communication with the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services to ensure that assistance, as required, is made available to the babies and families affected by the disease, in accordance with established policy.
All cases of Microcephaly are treated with the utmost confidentiality and sensitivity by the Ministry of Health and the Regional Health Authorities. It is expected that the privacy of the affected families will be respected at this time.
For further information please contact:
The Corporate Communications Unit
Ministry of Health