Fri | Dec 15, 2017

Most Zika cases still in Corporate Area

Published:Wednesday | July 6, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said the Zika virus still remains a predominantly Corporate Area disease, given that 1,400 of the 2,135 suspected cases of the virus are from Kingston,

St Andrew, and St Catherine.

According to Tufton, there were 24 confirmed cases of Zika up to June 25, but the Ministry of Health has received 2,825 notifications for the virus, of which 2,135 are suspected cases.

There were 88 cases of suspected Zika virus in pregnant women reported as of June 24, of which four have tested positive.

The four pregnant women are in their second trimester.

"It is important to note that a lack of confirmation does not mean that Zika can be ruled out, as it is a very short window of three to five days," Tufton said yesterday during a post-Sectoral Debate press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister.

"We will have to monitor these pregnant women, because it is a sufficiently large number - certainly the suspected cases - and we are doing that. We actually have systems in place to monitor, and the truth is, we will determine how impactful the virus would have been after birth and we will prepare ourselves [and] prepare the public health system to deal with the possibilities," he said.

Of the 24 confirmed cases of Zika, 12 are from Kingston and St Andrew, eight from St Catherine, while there was one each from Clarendon and

St Thomas, and the addresses of the other two cases are unknown.

The first case of Zika virus in Jamaica was confirmed on January 29 this year.

"The most frequently reported symptoms among suspected cases were fever, rash and joint pain and, among confirmed cases, it was rash, fever and headache," the minister noted.

Of the suspected cases, 749 were reported from Kingston and St Andrew and 651 from St Catherine.

There were also 42 notifications of Guillain-BarrÈ (paralysis) syndrome (GBS), of which eight are suspected cases based on investigation, as well as the fact that they fit the clinical signs and symptoms of GBS.

GBS is a neurological disorder in which an individual's immune system attacks the nerve cells and results in muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.

nadine.wilson@gleanerjm.com