Since the first local, or autochthonous vector-borne transmission of Zika virus was recorded at the end of January in Greater Portmore, health officials in Jamaica has recorded 2,845 suspected and 55 confirmed Zika cases through the end of July.

Aedes albopictus/FotoshopTofs
Aedes albopictus/FotoshopTofs

Today, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Winston De La Haye says in addition to its public education efforts, the Ministry of Health has been increasing clinical capacity including through training of healthcare professionals, infrastructure upgrades, increased human resources and acquisition of equipment, supplies and medication to deal with Zika and its associated complications including Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS).

Medications, like immunoglobulin has been stockpiled to appropriately treat GBS and other forms of Zika manifestation.

“We have been working very closely with health practitioners in the public and private sector and have provided clinical guidelines on diagnosing and treating complications of Zika,” Dr. De La Haye said.

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare condition in which a person’s immune system attacks his or her nerves. According to the WHO people of all ages can be affected, but it is more common in adult men. Most people recover fully from even the most severe cases but in 20%-25% of people with the condition, the chest muscles are affected, making it hard to breathe. Severe cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome are rare, but can result in paralysis.

In addition, Jamaican reggae star, Beenie Man has reportedly contracted Zika, and apparently another mosquito borne viral disease, dengue fever and was forced to cancel a show this past weekend at Toronto’s OVO Fest due to not being able to get a visa.

According to a Instagram post, which is now deleted, he wrote: “No visa fi mi Canada show”. “The same Zika mosquito gi mi dengue. Blood test, injections, pills. Wi a hol firm still.”

beenie manThrough the end of July, Canada reported 168 travel-associated Zika cases, one acquired through sexual transmission and one case of mother-to-child transmission.