The V.I. Department of Health confirmed no new cases of Zika virus this week, leaving the number of confirmed cases at 21. Three additional cases of dengue have been confirmed on St. Thomas.
“Although the number of confirmed Zika cases hasn’t changed since last week, we need to remain diligent to protect ourselves and the health of future generations from this virus,” Health Commissioner nominee Michelle S. Davis said in a news statement.
“Use insect repellent, wear protective clothes, and mosquito-proof your home,” Davis urged.
According to the Health weekly update, 566 pregnant women have been tested for Zika in the Virgin Islands and three pregnant women have been confirmed positive so far. The first woman has already given birth to a healthy baby.
The conditions of the two pregnant women who were confirmed positive for Zika last week remain unknown.
Rachel L.C. Powell, a member of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Zika virus field team on St. Croix, said Health cannot share further details on the state of the two pregnancy cases due to privacy issues.
Having Zika while pregnant is a concern, because unborn babies could be at risk for contracting the virus and as a result could suffer from birth defects. In April the CDC confirmed that Zika can cause microcephaly.
“The testing offered by the DOH will not determine if a baby has microcephaly. Microcephaly can sometimes be diagnosed during an ultrasound,” Powell said.
To date, 15 of the 21 confirmed Zika cases have occurred on St. Croix. St. Thomas has five confirmed cases and St. John has one case.
Fifteen of the infections have occurred in females and six in males. Last week Powell said health officials think more women are requesting Zika testing, so they’re seeing more confirmed cases in women than men.
There have been 212 reported test cases in the territory since the start of the outbreak in January. A total of 152 cases – an increase of 30 from last week – have come back negative for Zika and 36 are currently pending results.
There are also three cases listed as “no specimen” on the weekly surveillance report, which indicates that a blood sample was unavailable for testing.
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.
According to this week’s surveillance report, Health has confirmed 15 cases of dengue this year, eight on St. Croix and seven on St. Thomas. The three additional cases since last week occurred on St. Thomas.
The Department of Health is continuing to offer free Zika testing for pregnant women regardless of whether they show symptoms. The CDC has contracted a private company to inspect the homes of pregnant women for potential mosquito breeding risks and to offer larvicide treatment if necessary.
Any household with a pregnant woman that would like this free service or wants additional information about it can call Health’s Emergency Operations Center at 340-712-6205.
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
Local information about Zika virus is available by calling 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 also partnering with several labs and clinics throughout the territory to provide free virus infection testing. Powell said that if you are turned away from testing or are told to pay for testing then call Health, since it has agreements in place with several facilities. These places should not be charging for Zika testing:
On St. Croix:
– Acute Alternative Medical Group, 772-2883.
– 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.