While neighboring island St. Croix has recorded a number of Zika virus infections, St. Thomas hasn’t seen any until now.
The Virgin Islands Department of Health received confirmation over the weekend of a case positive for Zika virus in a 39 year old male on St. Thomas. “The Department anticipates additional cases will be confirmed as new lab results come back from the CDC. To date, 243 total samples have been received from St. Thomas and St. John district. Of these, 45 were received from symptomatic individuals. The DOH has also received test results for 9 samples: two of which were dengue positive as previously reported, and the one Zika positive case we are reporting today; the remaining six were negative” stated Commissioner Nominee Michelle Davis, PhD.
In addition, “the Department of Health continues to test pregnant women without symptoms of Zika. As of today, DOH has received samples for 402 pregnant women. Lab results have been received for 152, and all have been negative, except for the two previously reported dengue positives. No cases of Zika have been confirmed in pregnant women. CDC has recommended all asymptomatic pregnant women residing in areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission be tested at the initiation of prenatal care with follow-up testing mid-second trimester,” added Kimberly Jones, Deputy Commissioner.
The Department of Health has been preparing for additional cases in the territory and taking steps to educate the public on how to protect themselves from mosquito bites to prevent the virus from spreading further, including increasing public outreach and education on St. Thomas and St. John over the past two weeks.
About a week after reports of the first locally transmitted Zika virus infection in Dominica, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel notice for the Caribbean island .
Travelers to areas with cases of Zika virus infection are at risk of being infected with the Zika virus. Mosquitoes that spread Zika are aggressive daytime biters. They also bite at night. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika virus. The best way to avoid Zika virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites.