On Tuesday the V.I. Department of Health reported one new case of Zika in a woman on St. Croix.
To date, 12 of the 13 Zika cases have occurred on St. Croix, with one on St. Thomas, but there are pending cases from all three islands.
According to the weekly surveillance report, the number of total reported suspected cases doubled to 148 in the last week, which is due to a change in the reporting structure rather than an uptick in the testing of symptomatic persons.
Dr. Esther Ellis, Health’s territorial epidemiologist, said that lab negatives are no longer being removed from the reported case count in order to make the numbers add up in the report.
A total of 93 cases have come back negative for Zika and 40 are currently pending results. There are also two cases listed as “no specimen” on the weekly surveillance report.
“These are reported cases based on fulfilling the symptom criteria, but no specimen was collected. This can occur if the provider cannot successfully perform a blood draw or if the patient refuses the lab test,” Ellis explained.
There’s been a total of 90 suspected Zika cases on St. Croix, 54 on St. Thomas and four on St. John, many of which have come back negative and some of which are pending results.
Health continues to test pregnant women who are and aren’t displaying symptoms free of charge at area clinics. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes, but can also include muscle pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and vomiting.
Zika is a concern for pregnant women, since its likely link to an increase in microcephaly, a condition that causes newborns to be born with smaller than normal heads and cognitive problems.
According to Health, 426 pregnant women have been tested in the territory, of which 385 have tested negative. Zika has not been confirmed in any pregnant women yet, but four have tested positive for dengue.
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. The CDC is also encouraging Zika-infected couples to postpone pregnancy.
Mosquito control efforts are continuing around the homes of pregnant women in the territory. As part of Health’s mosquito control and Zika management program, free home inspections are available to pregnant women who have been tested for Zika.
These inspections are a precautionary measure to keep pregnant women safe from mosquito breeding areas and are not indicative of a positive Zika test result.
Ellis said Health “has done an outstanding job at responding to the outbreak so far, and the CDC is using us as a success story of an incredible response.”
For local information about Zika virus, call the Department of Health Emergency Operations Center at 340-712-6205. For more general information about the Zika virus call toll free: 1-800-CDC-INFO.
Health is distributing education materials in English and Spanish, as well as prevention tools like mosquito nets, insect repellent and condoms 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.