Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Ronald Georges rubbished Zika conspiracy claims which allege that the Ministry of Health is hiding positive results of the virus. In a social media announcement this week Dr. Georges explained that there are no known local Zika transmissions and that claims that there is a cover up are preposterous.
“The insinuations about cover-ups are quite unfortunate and misleading as we have a legal responsibility to report substantiated facts about local transmission of infectious disease of international significance to both the UK and to international organizations. Hence the need for laboratory confirmation, and proper clinical information,” Dr. Georges explained.
In further emphasizing that there are no local Zika cases Dr. Georges announced: “We have no confirmed cases of local transmission of Zika in the Territory. While we have had some persons who have come to the Territory with positive tests we are yet to confirm local transmission of Zika.”
The Chief Medical Officer explained that in an environment where there is sustained transmission the Ministry can begin to make clinical diagnosis, but this is not the case at present. He further noted that tests are done through CARPHA.
“All cases must presently be confirmed by PCR testing. PCR testing for persons who meet the case definition is done at CARPHA in Trinidad while persons who do not meet the case definition can pay to have their test done on request through CARPHA (via Peebles Laboratory) or privately (via Quest Diagnostics). Lab tests are done on a physician’s order only not a patient’s request.”
The CMO also repeated his earlier statement that the Zika virus’ arrival in the Territory is inevitable: “Zika should be viewed as an inevitability in the BVI, and we should continue to be vigilant, particularly related to mosquito breeding sites in and around our places of work, play and where we live. We, and in particular pregnant women, should also be diligent in taking the necessary precautions and encouraging our neighbours and connections to do the same.”