The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

On Wed­nes­day April 13, 2016 the Of­fice of the Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer was in­formed by the Caribbean Pub­lic Health Agency (CARPHA) of the con­fir­ma­tion of two ad­di­tional cases of Zika virus dis­ease in Saint Lucia.

The pa­tients are both fe­male re­sid­ing in sep­a­rate lo­ca­tions within Saint Lucia. At the point of case con­fir­ma­tion, the two cases seem un­re­lated. There is no ap­par­ent clus­ter­ing of cases as the con­firmed cases to date are from sep­a­rate com­mu­ni­ties within the is­land. Of­fi­cials of the Min­istry of Health are cur­rently un­der­tak­ing a full epi­demi­o­log­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Th­ese two cases fol­low the is­land’s con­fir­ma­tion of its first two of the Zika virus dis­ease on Wed­nes­day April 8, 2016.

In the in­terim, all per­sons is­land­wide are re­minded to adopt and main­tain mea­sures to re­duce ex­po­sure to this mos­quito-borne virus. This in­cludes stor­ing wa­ter in tightly sealed con­tain­ers to avoid the breed­ing of mos­qui­toes, us­ing in­sect re­pel­lants and wear­ing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to pro­tect ex­posed skin from mos­quito bites. Also, house­holds should con­duct rou­tine checks in­side and out­side of their prop­er­ties for po­ten­tial and ac­tive breed­ing sites and when iden­ti­fied, im­me­di­ately dis­pose of them, as has been rec­om­mended by the Min­istry of Health.

The Min­istry of Health main­tains its strong col­lab­o­ra­tion with the tourism sec­tor for a strate­gic ap­proach to Zika virus pre­pared­ness. The Govern­ment of Saint Lucia, to­gether with part­ners within the tourism sec­tor, has in­vested in the pro­cure­ment and set-up of In-2-Care Traps to strengthen the vec­tor man­age­ment pro­gramme with spe­cific fo­cus on lo­ca­tions with high mos­quito in­dices. Tourism part­ners have also pro­vided on-go­ing sup­port with do­na­tions of bed nets to be dis­trib­uted at health fa­cil­i­ties, the train­ing of staff within the tourism sec­tor, com­mu­nity clean-up cam­paigns and other health pro­mo­tion and pub­lic aware­ness ef­forts.

The Min­istry of Health con­tin­ues to work in col­lab­o­ra­tion with re­gional and in­ter­na­tional part­ners as it seeks to man­age the dis­ease.

The pub­lic will be kept up­dated by the Min­istry of Health on progress in man­ag­ing the re­sponse to Zika virus dis­ease in the country.

Dr Sharon Bel­mar-Ge­orge, Chief Med­i­cal of­fi­cer of Saint Lucia breaks the news to the me­dia.

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