The number of locally acquired Zika virus cases reported in the US Virgin Islands increased by 62 in the past week, bringing the total to 524.

US Virgin Islands Image/M.Minderhoud
US Virgin Islands

According to health officials, while the number of confirmed cases continues to grow, there has been a downward trend in new cases for more than five weeks.

“We’ve seen five consecutive weeks of a downward trend, so we do think it has peaked, but it’s always good to have more data,” territorial epidemiologist Esther Ellis said.

The breakdown of cases are as follows: St. Thomas now has 417 confirmed cases, St. Croix has a total of 78 and St. John’s total is now 29.

A total of 35 pregnant women have been confirmed positive with an additional 13 probable cases that are awaiting confirmatory testing results.

Zika’s most common symptoms are headache, fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes (conjunctivitis) and pain behind the eyes, which can make it difficult to distinguish from dengue.

Zika virus is primarily spread by mosquitoes so prevention of mosquito bites is key. Many people infected with Zika virus do not get sick. Among those who do develop symptoms, sickness is usually mild, with symptoms that last for several days to a week.

Sexual transmission of Zika virus is also possible.

Health officials has not reported any hospitalizations or deaths as a result of Zika to date. There have also been no cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS).