Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez, has made public the latest information on the transmission of the Zika virus within the Cayman Islands.
"Since the last update of Tuesday, 9 August 2016, eight additional results have been received from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). Of these, seven returned negative for Zika virus and one result was positive,” Dr. Williams-Rodriguez said.
He explained the female patient, a local resident of George Town, has no reported travel history to any of the countries where there is currently an outbreak of the Zika virus.
“It is therefore concluded that this case has been locally transmitted, bringing cases of local transmission of the Zika virus within the Cayman Islands to three and six imported cases," he remarked.
Dr. Williams-Rodriguez noted, “The World Health Organization is advising that in geographical areas where local circulation of the Zika virus is already established, it is recommended that a fraction of all suspected cases detected during each week (ideally 10%) be confirmed by laboratory tests.”
As such, effective 15 August 2016, the Cayman Islands will only test persons for the Zika virus who have no travel history to countries with outbreaks.
Director of the Mosquito Research Control Unit (MRCU), Dr. William Petrie, said the MRCU continues to communicate with the Public Health Department to ensure a proactive approach is taken. He elaborated the MRCU is currently carrying out additional mosquito control operations in the George Town area due to the fact that all three locally transmitted cases have been confirmed in that area.
“I would remind residents to check their premises regularly and remove water in buckets, plant pot saucers, discarded tyres etc., as these are the favoured breeding sites of the Aedes aegypti mosquito,” Dr. Petrie explained.
With the cooperation of the Cayman Islands Airport Authority (CIAA), the Public Health Department has also increased its community education on the Zika virus, by installing banners at the arrival and departure areas of the Owen Roberts International Airport, and the check-in hall at the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport in Cayman Brac.
These banners advise residents what measures they can take to prevent being bitten by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes during travel overseas. A frequently asked questions document and fact sheet is also being updated and will be circulated across the three Islands, made accessible on the Department of Public Health page on the Health Services Authority website www.hsa.ky.
Additionally, all practicing physicians, both public and private, have received guidance on Zika testing for pregnant women, as per the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) guidelines.
For more advice on mosquito control, contact the Mosquito Research and Control Unit on 949-2557 in Grand Cayman, or 948-2223 on Cayman Brac; and Department of Environmental Health (DEH) on 949-6696 in Grand Cayman, or 948-2321 in Cayman Brac.
For further information on Zika, please contact the Public Health Department at 244-2648 or 244-2621.