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Cayman is still Zika free

The Zika virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito which breeds in fresh water. The virus is now present in 39 countries and has been declared an international public health emergency.
The Zika virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito which breeds in fresh water. The virus is now present in 39 countries and has been declared an international public health emergency.

The Acting Medical Officer of Health has advised that as of Tuesday, 16 February there are no reported or confirmed cases of Zika virus in the Cayman Islands.

Currently, there are 34 countries worldwide which have reported autochthonous (local) transmission of the virus. These include Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Venezuela, Barbados, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, US Virgin Islands, Maldives, Thailand, American Samoa, Samoa, Solomon Island, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Cape Verde.

There are also confirmed cases in the United States of America.

While there are no confirmed cases of the Zika virus in the Cayman Islands, Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriguez is using this opportunity to remind residents and visitors alike that the dengue and chikungunya viruses are still circulating within the Caribbean region.

“The public can be assured that the Public Health Department is maintaining a high level of surveillance and our partners at the Mosquito and Research and Control Unit (MRCU) have already begun intensifying integrated vector management strategies for control of vector borne diseases,” said Dr Williams. “We continue with health education, and reminding the public of the importance of the avoidance of mosquito bites and the elimination of breeding sites.”

MRCU Director, Dr William Petrie outlined his department’s commitment to the effort, “MRCU’s Zika Contingency Plan is well underway in an effort to reduce the risk of transmission should the virus reach Cayman. We are now in the third week of our Action Plan – Phase 1, to reduce the numbers of Aedesaegypti, the mosquito responsible for transmission,” he commented.

“While recent weather conditions have precluded some spraying operations, we have taken the opportunity to conduct comprehensive house-to-house treatments and, in particular, wide-spread surveys in order to better guide future operations. Management and staff at MRCU remain vigilant in these efforts to combat the Zika virus, and operations are on-going to protect residents and visitors to the Cayman Islands,” Dr Petrie said.

For further information contact the Public Health Department on 244-2621 or the MRCU on 949-2557.

 

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