p>The Department of Health confirmed one more case of Zika and no new cases of dengue in the last week.
A total of seven cases of Zika have been confirmed since the first case was announced in late January. The current dengue outbreak has had seven confirmed cases so far.
Jessica Schindelar, a communications specialist for the Centers for Disease Control’s Zika Emergency Operations Center based on St. Croix, said that it’s still too early to predict the scale of the outbreak and that many results are still pending.
Results are still coming in at a slowed paced for both Zika and dengue confirmations due to the demand on the one lab that is testing for Zika in Fort Collins, Colo. To confirm Zika or dengue, blood samples must go through the same level of testing.
All seven of the territory’s confirmed cases of Zika have occurred on St. Croix with two males and five females being infected. The most common symptoms have been fever, joint pain, rash, eye pain and headache.
Five of the confirmed dengue cases have occurred on St. Croix and two on St. Thomas. These are the first confirmed cases of dengue in more than a year and Health officials expect the disease to spread.
A total of 75 cases of Zika have been reported throughout the territory so far with 65 of them pending lab results. According to Health, reported cases only include positives, pending and a small number of other suspected cases, which may not have had blood drawn.
There are currently 43 suspected cases on St. Croix, 30 in St. Thomas and two in St. John, but most of these cases are still pending results. An additional 30 cases have been confirmed negative.
Schindelar said that Health and the CDC are discussing ways to improve testing capacity in the Virgin Islands, but that there is no confirmation of what if any lab equipment will be sent to the territory.
Since the possibility for sexual transmission of Zika has been confirmed, the CDC recommends that pregnant women use condoms during sex or refrain from having it in order to prevent passing Zika on to their babies while in the womb.
Zika and dengue are potentially dangerous for pregnant women, so Health is urging them to be tested for it even if they’re not displaying symptoms. The disease could be potentially linked to an increase in microcephaly, a condition that causes newborns to be born with smaller than normal heads.
To date, no pregnant women in the territory have been diagnosed with Zika. The territory has tested 278 pregnant women so far and 52 of those samples have come back negative. The rest of the cases are pending results.
Last week Health received a shipment of Zika prevention kits from the CDC to give to pregnant women free of charge. Items include insect repellent, repellent for treating clothing, condoms, a thermometer for women to screen themselves for symptoms, treatment tabs for preventing mosquitoes from breeding in standing water and a bed net.
“The kits include health education materials and prevention tools to help prevent Zika transmission to pregnant women. We know that Zika virus can be passed from a mother to her fetus during pregnancy,” Deputy Health Commissioner Kimberly Jones said in a press release statement.
The free kits are available to pregnant women at the following locations:
On St. Croix
– Department of Health MCH Clinic
– Department of Health WIC Clinic
– Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center
– Frederiksted Health Center
On St. John
– Health Care Connection
– Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center
On St. Thomas
– Department of Health MCH Clinic (Pediatric)
– Department of Health Community Health Clinic (Prenatal)
– Roy Lester Schneider Hospital
– East End Medical Center
Health is partnering with several labs and clinics throughout the territory to provide free virus infection testing:
On St. Croix:
– Beeston Hill Clinical Lab, 773-4990.
– Clinical Laboratory Inc. (Sunny Isle), 778-5369.
– Frederiksted Health Care, Inc., 772-0260.
– Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital & Medical Center, 778-6311.
– Primary Care PLLC, 718-7788.
On St. John:
– Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center, 693-8900.
On St. Thomas:
– Community Medical Laboratory, 776-7444.
– Cranston/Dottin Biomedical Lab, 774-6256.
– Doctors Clinical Laboratory, 774-2760.
– Havensight Medical Laboratory, 774-5515.
– Roy Lester Schneider Hospital, 776-8311.