The Ministry of Health, in an update on the current situation in relation to the Zika virus outbreak, said Jamaica now has 16 confirmed cases of the Zika virus.
“We estimate that this number of confirmed cases is just a small portion of what is actually the reality in terms of the persons who could possibly be infected as the WHO indicates that as much as 70% of the population of a country may be infected over time,” explained Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton.
He noted that two of the 16 confirmed positive cases are pregnant women who will be continuously monitored.
He said the ministry would be doing continuous monitoring of the pregnant women and warned that increased cases of the Zika virus might well be seen after September, when the nine-month period of their pregnancy cycle would expire.
Speaking at a press conference, Thursday morning, at the Ministry’s New Kingston’s office, Dr. Tufton said that 1,969 notifications have been reported to the Ministry as at May 29. Of that number, there have been 1,387 notifications classified as suspected Zika cases.
He stated that the government will continue to prepare the sector for any increase in the severe forms of the illness.
“The health practitioners in the public and private sector have been informed and clinical guidelines have been provided and are available on our website. We have in stock adequate supplies of the requisite medication to appropriately treat all forms of Zika manifestation. We will continue to monitor and procure as is necessary,” said Tufton.
The Zika virus is reported to be of particular danger to pregnant women as it is linked to cases of microcephaly.
This is a condition in which an infant’s head is smaller than the head of other children of the same age and sex.
The Health Minister has indicated that, so far, there have been no confirmed cases of microcephaly or Guillain Barre Syndrome associated with the Zika virus.
Carol Maye, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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