Four zika cases confirmed in Bahamas; 26 pregnant women tested positive in St Lucia

Health officials in The Bahamas said on Monday that four cases of zika infection in total have been confirmed on New Providence. Officials said there are 83 suspected cases. Of that group, eight are pregnant women. The first case was reported on August 10.

Meanwhile, in Saint Lucia, the ministry of health is monitoring 26 pregnant women who have tested positive for the zika virus disease.

Health officials in Saint Lucia are also presently monitoring a patient diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome, who is suspected as having recently had zika virus disease, but has not yet been confirmed. The patient, an adult male, presented with weakness in his legs and difficulty walking, after suffering from zika like symptoms. He has been treated according to standard protocol and has received immune therapy to halt the progression of the paralysis.

Bahamas minister of health Dr Perry Gomez said, “All patients have been treated for associated symptoms and are doing well. Based on the histories received from the cases it has been determined that there is a mix of travel and local transmission.”

Zika virus is transmitted primarily by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Other modes of transmission have been identified including passing the zika infection from mother to baby and sexual transmission.

Zika during pregnancy has been linked to microcephaly in newborns.

As there is no specific treatment or vaccine available for zika virus infection, health officials said the best form of protection is prevention.

Preventative measures include avoiding mosquito bites, eliminating mosquito breeding sites and to prevent sexual transmission, the correct use of condoms.

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