First two zika cases confirmed in St Lucia

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has confirmed the first two cases of zika virus disease in Saint Lucia. The patients, a female, 28, and a male, 25, are stable and being treated and monitored as outpatients according to the recommended protocol of care.

An outbreak investigation team has been deployed to conduct a full epidemiological investigation into the cases, and all efforts are being undertaken to limit the risk of further transmission.

The ministry of health has indicated that the individuals do not have a history of recent travel to a zika affected country. Additional updates will be issued as information becomes available, it said.

In the interim, the ministry of health reminded the public to adopt and maintain measures to reduce exposure to zika. This includes storing water in tightly sealed containers to avoid mosquito breeding, using insect repellants and long clothing to prevent the exposure of skin to mosquito bites, conducting routine checks of households for potential and active breeding sites, and the immediate and appropriate disposal of breeding sites.

Following confirmation of zika in the Caribbean earlier this year, Saint Lucia’s ministry of health, through the collaboration of key partners and communities, intensified mosquito control and prevention strategies in order to ensure the safety and well-being of both citizens and visitors. This included intensified public awareness, the training of all health staff to ensure timely recognition and prompt treatment of affected persons, heightened epidemiological surveillance, and the staging of Vector Awareness Week in March. (Caribbean News Now)

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