As reported in today’s Zika surveillance
report, the Virgin Islands Department of Health confirmed two additional cases of Zika on St. Croix, bringing the total to 4 cases. This is not unexpected. The Department of Health is sending new samples for testing to the CDC lab in Colorado daily. As additional results are returned from CDC, the Department of Health expects that there will be more positive cases. Updated weekly surveillance reports will continue to be distributed on Tuesdays.
In addition, the Department of Health confirmed 3 new cases of dengue; these are the first new cases of dengue in over a year. In 2015, there were 19 suspected and 3 probable cases of dengue diagnosed in the US Virgin Islands.
These cases of dengue highlight the importance of mosquito control efforts in the Virgin Islands. The mosquito that spreads dengue also spreads chikungunya and Zika virus. The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Following recent rains in USVI, the Department of Health is urging residents to check their property for standing water, where mosquitoes can breed, and repair window screens. Eliminate any standing water in and around your home:
- Empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers. Check inside and outside your home.
- Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs.
- For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
For more information on what you can do to help control mosquitoes on your property:
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. Pregnant women are at higher risk of severe complications from dengue fever, and any pregnant woman experiencing symptoms should see their healthcare provider for evaluation. Avoid ibuprofen, aspirin, or aspirin-containing drugs 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 (Paracetamol or Tylenol®.) 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 spreading the disease to others.
For local information about Zika virus, call the Department of Health Emergency Operations Center at (340) 712-6205. For more general information about the Zika virus call toll free: 1-800-CDC-INFO.
If you have symptoms of Zika (fever, rash, joint pain or red eyes) or are pregnant, please see your local Primary Care Provider. The Department of Health has partnered with many clinics so that testing for Zika virus is available free of charge. The Department of Health continues to provide testing for the Zika virus as well.
Special section on Zika
Weekly Surveillance Reports
Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention:
Pan American Health Organization