By Aaron Humes: The Ministry of Health says that its Zika containment plan for Belize is moving into “a new phase” due to two potential cases being uncovered in the Stann Creek and Toledo Districts with a third person being identified as of interest.
However, until samples taken from the persons involved are tested at the regional referral laboratory at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad, the Ministry maintains that for now Belize is Zika-free.
In a press release issued this evening, the Ministry conducted a field investigation based on the reported case of Zika by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on their provisional data.
As we have reported, the CDC said tests conducted on a U.S. woman and her husband certified them as positive for the virus. They had visited Belize between March 14 and 19 and stayed at a resort in the South. The woman and then her husband tested positive for Zika on returning to the U.S. four days later, after manifesting symptoms.
The Ministry’s results revealed two local potential cases, one in the Stann Creek District and the other in the Toledo District. A person of interest was also identified from the Cayo District. Their samples will be sent tomorrow, Tuesday.
The investigation into possible sources continue; however, only confirmation on the samples will allow the Ministry to declare that Zika is in Belize by local transmission.
All Regional Health Management teams have been debriefed and the Zika plan
for Belize continues to be implemented and is now moving into a new phase as the Ministry continues to learn more of the situation.
The Ministry continues to implore the community to take measures to minimize the breeding sites and population of mosquitoes that primarily transmit the disease. Pregnant women and women considering getting pregnant are especially asked to take precautions and try to avoid mosquito bites. Pregnant women are also encouraged to attend regular prenatal clinics in order to monitor their health and their baby’s development.
The investigating team includes persons from the Vector Control Unit, Public Health and Epidemiology Departments. The office of the Director of Health Services continues to spearhead all efforts as we move towards further documentation of any potential cases.
The Ministry of Health says it will require the assistance of every person and community in trying to mitigate the potential impact of Zika in Belize.
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