No additional cases of Zika were confirmed in the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Health, says the weekly
Report. The total number of Zika cases remains at 21; with 15 cases in St. Croix, one case in St. John, and five in St. Thomas. To date 566 pregnant women in the USVI have been tested for Zika, and three were confirmed positive.
“Although the number of confirmed Zika cases hasn’t changed since last week, we need to remain diligent to protect ourselves and the health of future generations from this virus,” Commissioner Nominee, Michelle S. Davis, PhD stated in response to the report. “Use insect repellent, wear protective clothes, and mosquito-proof your home.”
Mosquitoes that spread chikungunya, dengue, and Zika are aggressive daytime biters. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using insect repellent with one of the following active ingredients when outdoors: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol. CDC also recommends wearing clothing treated with permethrin, and eliminating standing water in and around your home by emptying any items that hold water such as tires, buckets, planters, flowerpots, or trash containers. Additional information about mosquito-proofing your home is available on the DOH website
Free Zika testing is also available to anyone showing signs of infection, such as fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes. All pregnant women are eligible for Zika testing.
“There are 15 testing locations across the islands that offer free Zika testing to pregnant women and anyone with symptoms of the virus,” explained Deputy Commissioner Kimberly Jones. “If you are told that you cannot be tested at any of the sites listed on our website, please call the Department of Health Emergency Operations Center so that we can find appropriate testing and services for you.”
Zika is spread primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected.
A pregnant women infected with Zika can pass the virus on to her unborn baby, which can cause serious birth defects. The Department of Health is working diligently to protect USVI’s next generation from these health effects by offering the following free services to pregnant women:
- Inspections to look for mosquito larvae and mosquito breeding grounds at/around her house;
- Larvacide treatment if mosquito larvae are found at/around her house;
- Zika Prevention Kit, which includes educational materials, insect repellent, permethrin spray repellent for clothing, condoms to avoid sexual transmission of Zika, treatment tabs for preventing mosquitoes from breeding in standing water, and a bed net.
To find a testing location or receive any of these services, pregnant women are encouraged to contact the Department of Health Emergency Operations Center at (340) 712-6205 or visit
www.healthvi.org. In addition to pregnant women, anyone with symptoms of Zika (fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes) is also eligible for a free Zika test.
For local information about Zika, 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
Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention:
Pan American Health Organization