Autochthonous, or local transmission of Zika virus on the Lesser Antilles Caribbean island of Martinique was first confirmed in late December. As of today, health officials report 12 confirmed cases prompting the government to enter into Phase 2 of the monitoring program, warning and outbreak management, one that precedes the epidemic, according to a local media report (computer translated).
“Since we know that the virus is circulating in Brazil, we have implemented heightened surveillance for the West Indies and Guiana to detect early cases. We are relying on doctors and laboratories. In mid-December, we moved into another phase, enhanced surveillance, after the first confirmed cases, “says Martine Ledrans, head of interregional Epidemiology Unit (CIRE) Antilles-Guyane.
In addition to the 12 locally transmitted cases, monitoring by sentinel physicians has estimated that around 150 suspected cases were seen in consultation for the week of December 28 to January 3. The cases located in the same areas as those of the first 12 laboratory confirmed cases. The confirmed cases have been detected in the following areas: Schoelcher (3), Fort-de-France (1), Lamentin (1) , Robert (5), Sainte-Luce (1) and Trinity (1).
Symptoms presented include rash with or without fever, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, conjunctivitis, headache and retro-orbital pain. Up to half are asymptomatic.
Since the announcement of the first case, the mosquito control department of Martinique conducted mosquito control operations in the affected area of Schoelcher, and then the other sectors. However, officials note that spraying insecticides alone will not do it. Removing mosquito breeding spots and personal protection against mosquito bites are also required. Vigilance is required.
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