Wednesday, August 24 – The Ministry of Health and Social Development has confirmed five cases of the Zika virus in the British Virgin Islands.
Three of the cases were tested locally and found to be positive and two cases were tested overseas and found to be positive as well. The cases were contracted in the Cane Garden Bay and Havers areas of Tortola.
Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Ronald Georges has stated that with our neighbouring islands contracting the virus, it was only a matter of time for the Territory to confirm cases.
Dr. Georges explained that the Zika virus causes symptoms similar to chikungunya and dengue fever which lasts two to seven days. He explained that some persons may show no signs while 20 percent of persons who contract the virus may be symptomatic. Symptoms include rash, joint-pain, fever and an eye infection known as conjunctivitis or pink eye.
Additionally, Dr. Georges said that Public Heath has been coordinating very closely with the Environmental Health Division to address the ‘hot zones’ for inspection and mitigation to minimize the impact of Zika.
Residents are urged to be vigilant in inspecting their premises for breeding sites and taking corrective action. This includes covering cistern openings and water catchments, and properly disposing of disused containers, tyres or other potential water catchments.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development continues to urge health practitioners to continue to report suspected cases of Zika virus infection to the Ministry of Health in accordance with the Communicable Disease Act.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development continues its educational measures to assist residents to minimize the risk of transmission.