Zika concerns are mounting as Cayman grapples with three confirmed locally transmitted cases.
The World Health Organization fact sheet lists the zika virus as the cause of birth defects like microcephaly as well as the potentially fatal Guillain-Barré syndrome.
For pregnant women in our islands, this link brings about serious concerns about how to protect themselves and their unborn babies.
“Right now I’m 37 weeks pregnant, I’m due the 10th of September so I’m quite far on in my pregnancy,” said Patrianna Hemmings, who is expecting the arrival of her family’s latest bundle of joy.
She’s hoping for a healthy baby girl, but the arrival on our shores of zika has her worried.
“It just brings room for your thoughts to go wild, and you try to figure things out on your own,” said Ms. Hemmings.
She said she understands zika is a new threat on the island, but the information she’s getting from her doctor doesn’t seem like enough.
“Unfortunately we have to self-educate ourselves if we are not able to get the resources where we need them most,” she said.
Health Councillor Roy McTaggart said the zika situation is fluid, with new information emerging almost every day. His advice to mums-to-be: don’t believe everything you read on the internet.
“Seek out information, but get it from the right sources,” said Mr. McTaggart. “A lot of stuff out there is just not true, it’s not, sometimes there are figments of truth in it, but it isn’t total truth, so it’s best to rely on your official sources in terms of information.
“I think there needs to be, maybe a public forum where there can maybe be more engagement,” said Ms. Hemmings.
Ms. Hemmings said she’d also like to see more transparency as to the specific areas where those who’ve been confirmed with the virus live.
“I think it would be great if we knew, I know it sounds strange, people are entitled to their privacy,” she said.
Mr. McTaggart told Cayman 27 information like that could be misleading.
“I’m not sure that knowing specifically what area they are from would add, would be the right answer to give, because you don’t know where specifically they contracted, or were bitten by the mosquito,” said Mr. McTaggart.
Ms. Hemmings decided to get tested for the zika virus. She said she doesn’t think she has the disease, but wanted to know for certain. She is still awaiting her results.
The most recent update to the HSA’s official zika fact sheet is available to answer any zika concerns, which is available for download. ZIKA VIRUS FACT SHEET 16 08 16