Public Health Minister Dr George Norton has stated that there are 35 confirmed cases of Zika Virus in Guyana, which is a significant leap from the initial seven.
Norton said that the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has sent back a report stating that there are 35 confirmed cases of the virus. However, he noted that they are re-testing the results of some seven more cases before releasing a final report.
Previously, there were only seven reported cases of the virus in the country and the Health Ministry had embarked on an aggressive fogging exercise to combat its spread. The ministry has also been distributing treated mosquito nets to all health facilities, including private medical institutions.
The Zika Virus is transmitted by the Aides Aegypti mosquito, known to be aggressive daytime biters but also bite at nights. Symptoms of the virus include: fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, rash and sometimes swelling of the limbs. In rare cases, persons may experience vomiting, abdominal pains and diarrhoea.
The virus can be passed on from a pregnant woman to her foetus, possibly resulting in certain brain defects. The virus has been linked specifically to a brain deformity called microcephaly, which results in the abnormal smallness of the infants’ head. This disorder results in incomplete brain development.
Thus, the ministry has advocated that persons avoid getting pregnant during this time. And if they do, they do it at their own risk. The ministry had advised that all pregnant women attend each of the antenatal clinic dates and use mosquito nets.
There are as yet no vaccines for the virus; however, the symptoms are treated symptomatically.
Zika was first spotted in Berbice when a woman, 27, tested positive in January, 2016. The virus has since spread to other regions, predominately in Region Four.
Dr Norton also stated that the four pregnant women who were tested positive with the virus are all recovering. He revealed that three of the mothers had normal deliveries and their babies showed no signs of brain defects. However, he stated that the hospital is still monitoring the development of the infants. The other mother aborted her baby in fear of abnormal childbirth.