Health officials are reporting three test results of suspected Zika virus cases have come back negative from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). The test results were also negative for dengue and chikungunya.
“While the results have yielded negative, with the regional outbreak in mind, we should not be complacent and medical personnel should remain on high alert to look for any imported cases,” said Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez.
The Public Health Department reported on 22 June 2016 that three residents and one visitor had symptoms consistent with Zika. Three of the four people from whom samples were taken had travelled to countries experiencing a Zika outbreak. The fourth sample was taken from a resident who had no travel history. Health officials say of the four samples, three tested negative for dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. One with travel history is inconclusive for Zika as it was not tested for the virus within the recommended criteria of five days or less from onset of symptoms to collection of samples. The Public Health Department says this was because the patient came to hospital seven days after the onset of symptoms. The results for this case are pending for dengue and chikungunya.
“On this issue of travelling overseas to countries where there are reports of the Zika virus, I remind the public that, while the Zika virus is mainly transmitted through Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, other modes of transmission – in particular, sexual transmission – have been documented,” said Dr. Williams-Rodriguez. “All men returning from where local transmission of Zika virus is known to occur should adopt safer sexual practices or consider abstinence for at least four weeks after return. Persons who develop Zika virus symptoms within two weeks of having returned from countries with Zika virus cases are advised to consult their physician and inform of their travel history.”
As of 29 June 2016, cases of Zika have been confirmed in 61 countries, including countries/territories in the Caribbean.