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UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

_________________________________________________________
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 22, 2016

Virgin Islands Department of Health Confirms Zika Virus on St. Croix

The Virgin Islands Department of Health confirmed today, a case positive for Zika virus in a 42 year old woman with no history of previous travel during the incubation period of the virus. 

The Department of Health’s Epidemiologist, Dr. Esther Ellis stated, “We are asking healthcare providers to submit suspected cases to the Department of Health using the chik report form via fax to 340 718 1508. The providers have all received this form in advance, as well as detailed instructions. We have conducted trainings at both hospitals and have been working with providers to identify the symptoms of the Zika Virus. We also want to stress to all pregnant women, to seek medical attention in the event that you are experiencing any symptoms and use all means to prevent mosquito bites."

The CDC issued a statement earlier this week noting, “Zika virus infection should be considered in patients with acute onset of fever, maculopapular rash, arthralgia or conjunctivitis, who traveled to areas with ongoing transmission in the two weeks prior to illness onset. Clinical disease usually is mild. However, during the current outbreak, Zika virus infections have been confirmed in several infants with microcephaly and in fetal losses in women infected during pregnancy. We do not yet understand the full spectrum of outcomes that might be associated with infection during pregnancy, nor the factors that might increase risk to the fetus. Additional studies are planned to learn more about the risks of Zika virus infection during pregnancy.”

Healthcare providers are encouraged to report suspected Zika virus disease cases to the Department of health to facilitate diagnosis and to mitigate the risk of local transmission. State health departments are requested to report laboratory-confirmed cases to CDC. CDC is working with states to expand Zika virus laboratory testing capacity, using existing RT-PCR protocols. 

This CDC Health Advisory includes information and recommendations about Zika virus clinical disease, diagnosis, and prevention, and provides travel guidance for pregnant women and women who are trying to become pregnant. Until more is known and out of an abundance of caution, pregnant women should consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who do travel to these areas should talk to their doctors or other healthcare providers first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip. Women trying to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare providers before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip. 

Treatment 

No specific antiviral treatment is available for Zika virus disease. Treatment is generally supportive and can include rest, fluids, and use of analgesics and antipyretics. Because of similar geographic distribution and symptoms, patients with suspected Zika virus infections also should be evaluated and managed for possible dengue or chikungunya virus infection. Aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should be avoided until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of hemorrhage. In particular, pregnant women who have a fever should be treated with acetaminophen. People infected with Zika, chikungunya, or dengue virus should be protected from further mosquito exposure during the first few days of illness to reduce the risk of local transmission. 

Prevention 

  • No vaccine or preventive drug is available. The best way to prevent Zika virus infection is to: 
    • Avoid mosquito bites. 
    • Use air conditioning or window and door screens when indoors. 
    • Wear long sleeves and pants, and use insect repellents when outdoors. Most repellents, including DEET, can be used on children older than two months. Pregnant and lactating women can use all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label. 


Recommendations for Health Care Providers and Public Health Practitioners 

  • Zika virus infection should be considered in patients with acute fever, rash, arthralgia, or conjunctivitis, who traveled to areas with ongoing transmission in the two weeks prior to onset of illness. 
  • All travelers should take steps to avoid mosquito bites to prevent Zika virus infection and other mosquito-borne diseases
  • Until more is known and out of an abundance of caution, pregnant women should consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who do travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctors or other healthcare providers first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip. Women trying to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare providers before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip. 
  • Fetuses and infants of women infected with Zika virus during pregnancy should be evaluated for possible congenital infection and neurologic abnormalities. 
  • Healthcare providers are encouraged to report suspected Zika virus disease cases to their state or local health department to facilitate diagnosis and to mitigate the risk of local transmission. 
  • Health departments should perform surveillance for Zika virus disease in returning travelers and be aware of the risk of possible local transmission in areas where Aedes species mosquitoes are active. 
  • State and Territory health departments are requested to report laboratory-confirmed Zika virus infections to CDC. 

    For More Information 

General information about Zika virus and disease: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/ 

Zika virus information for clinicians: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/hc-providers/index.html 

Protection against mosquitoes: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2016/the-pre-travel-consultation/protection-against-mosquitoes-ticks-other-arthropods

Travel notices related to Zika virus: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices 

Information about Zika virus for travelers and travel health providers: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2016/infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/zika 

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO): http://www.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_topics&view=article&id=427&Itemid=41484&lang=en 

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