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Neurosurgeon warns of consequences of a GBS outbreak in Jamaica

Published:Tuesday | June 14, 2016 | 6:39 PM
Consultant Neurosurgeon at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, Professor Renn Holness says the lack of intensive care unit beds and ventilators at Cornwall Regional Hospital could put the lives of babies at risk.

Consultant Neurosurgeon at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, Professor Renn Holness, says western Jamaica could face a serious crisis if a large number of pregnant women becomes infected with the Zika virus and give birth with babies with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS).

GBS is a sickness of the nervous system in which a person’s own immune system damage the nerve cells, causing muscle weakness, and sometimes, paralysis.

Professor Holness says the lack of intensive care unit beds and ventilators at Cornwall Regional Hospital could put the lives of these infected babies at risk.

 

Consultant Neurosurgeon at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, Professor Renn Holness

He laments that the Ministry of Health must move immediately to fix the resource challenges at Cornwall regional and at other hospitals.

Professor Holness, who was speaking on Cliff Hughes Online on Power 106 FM this morning, said a task force should be established to conduct a system wide review and develop medium to long term fixes.

The healthy ministry has indicated that it has heightened its surveillance of pregnant women as part of its response to the Zika virus.

It further said that it is on the lookout for possible increases in cases of GBS and microcephaly, another condition that affects babies born from mothers infected with the Zika virus, as the country moves closer to the nine months mark since recording its first case of the virus.