Turks and Caicos reports five cases of zika

The ministry of health has reported five confirmed cases of zika virus infections in the Turks and Cases Islands (TCI), three of which are imported and two of which are currently undergoing further investigations to determine whether they are also imported or part of local transmissions.
The local ministry of health is working with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), PAHO and UK IHR on the investigation of these cases.

The environmental health department and public health disease surveillance team of the ministry of health has stepped up its surveillance activities and has been working with the persons infected with the zika virus to ensure that the risk of in-country transmission is reduced.

“I am urging all residents and visitors of the Turks and Caicos Islands to remain calm as there is no evidence of in-country transmission at this time, although it remains possible,” said premier and minister of health, Dr Rufus Ewing.

The ministry of health asked all residents to take the necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites and to reduce the number of mosquitoes in and around households, by cleaning up yards and removing all catchment containers and derelict vehicles that can hold water as methods of reducing mosquito breeding.

The environmental health department will continue its fogging activities where necessary and country-wide cleanup campaigns will continue.

“During the Pre-Joint Ministerial Council Conference which was hosted here last week I, along with the other UK Overseas Territory leaders, discussed new and innovative ways to combat the zika virus by reducing the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito population. We will continue to explore those initiatives which are deemed suitable and applicable in the Turks and Caicos Islands,” Ewing said.

“We are particularly asking pregnant women to take extra precaution to avoid mosquito bites and to visit our local public health care providers who are currently issuing mosquito nets and providing educational material,” he added.

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