Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Number of Zika cases climbing

Published:Thursday | September 8, 2016 | 9:00 AM

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of pregnant women who have returned positive results for the feared Zika virus (ZIKV).

Data obtained from the health ministry show that as of September 2, thirty-five pregnant women were lab-confirmed to have ZIKV, while 501 were suspected to have contracted the virus.

In July, the ministry revealed that only seven pregnant women had been confirmed to have the mosquito-borne virus, while 150 others were suspected to be infected.

 

92 cases confirmed

 

The health ministry reported that in total, it had confirmed that 92 persons (inclusive of pregnant women) were infected with ZIKV, while 7,078 notifications were received.

Officials at the ministry told The Gleaner that some samples did not meet the criteria for testing because of the lack of relevant information, issues with the maintenance-of-cold chain, issues with the sample integrity, and the labs receiving the sample outside of the window of testing. To address the issues, the health officials said that reminder letters would be sent to doctors in the private and public sectors about methods and sample handling.

According to the Christopher Tufton-led ministry, up to September 2, Kingston, St Andrew, and St Catherine - cumulatively - had the highest number of reported cases.

However, the ministry said that for the period August 7 to August 20, the highest number of suspected cases were in St James and St Ann.

As for the deadly Guillian BarrÈ Syndrome (GBS), the ministry said that as of September 5, it had received 111 notifications of possible GBS affecting patients, of which 22 had been classified as suspected cases. GBS has since claimed the lives of two patients, the ministry said.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com