The Virgin Islands Department of Health confirmed one additional case of Zika on St. Croix, bringing the total to 14 cases. This is not unexpected, and the Department of Health expects that there will continue to be more positive cases in the future.
The Virgin Islands Department of Health is confirming our first Zika case in a pregnant woman residing on the island of St. Croix with no travel history reported.. The patient was 34 weeks pregnant when they were tested for Zika. She has since delivered a healthy baby with normal head circumference, showing no signs of microcephaly. The Department of Health will continue to monitor the mother and child’s progress over the next several weeks.
“Both Zika and dengue are potentially dangerous for pregnant women. Zika may be associated with birth defects (microcephaly), and pregnant women are at higher risk of severe complications from dengue fever. Any pregnant woman experiencing symptoms should see their healthcare provider for evaluation. They should also avoid ibuprofen, aspirin, or aspirin-containing drugs until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of hemorrhage. Pregnant women who have a fever should be treated with acetaminophen (Paracetamol or Tylenol®.) as it is not associated with increased risk for hemorrhagic complications,” stated Commissioner Nominee Michelle S. Davis, PhD.
Zika has been confirmed to be transmitted sexually, and the CDC now recommends that pregnant women in areas with active Zika transmission, such as in the USVI, should either use condoms the right way every time they have sex or they should not have sex during the pregnancy. Sexual transmission of dengue has not been confirmed, but it is theoretically possible.
Since both dengue and Zika cases are currently present in the Territory, all people, but especially pregnant women and their sexual partners, should enhance their efforts to reduce their risk of becoming infected:
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing one of the following:
- DEET, such as in, Off!, Cutter, Sawyer, and Ultrathon
- Picaridin, such as in Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus, such as in Repel and Off! Botanicals
- IR3535, such as in Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition and SkinSmart.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net
- Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items
- Check around your home and eliminate any standing water, where mosquitoes can breed
o Empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers. Check inside and outside your home
- Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs
- For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
Lastly, since people infected with Zika or dengue can be bitten by uninfected mosquitos, that then can become infected and go on to infect other people (including pregnant women), they should follow the recommendations listed above during the first few days of illness to reduce the risk of spreading the disease to others.
The Department of Health is continuing to enhance surveillance and lab testing capacity, partner with local healthcare providers, and educate the community about Zika and dengue through public outreach, media and social media.
Additionally the Department of Health is offering free inspections at homes with pregnant women. The inspection will look for mosquito breeding containers around the home and presence of mosquito larvae. If the home occupant would like the inspection team can assist with source reduction and treating any mosquito larvae found. For any households with a pregnant woman that would like this free service OR would like additional information about this service, please call the Department of Health Emergency Operations Center at (340) 712-6205.
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