Categorized | National News

First Zika Case Confirmed

Despite best efforts, The Bahamas has its first confirmed case of the Zika virus, an illness that in recent months has swept through the Americas and the Caribbean. Health Minister Dr. Perry Gomez confirmed the news in an early morning press conference yesterday at the Ministry of Health.

 Officials said the confirmed case was contracted outside of The Bahamas and involved an adult, Bahamian male who recently traveled to Jamaica.

The male presented to a private physician at a private medical facility with symptoms including rash, fever, joint pains and headache. A blood sample was taken for testing and sent to a reference laboratory. A confirmed positive result was received on Tuesday, August 9, 2016.“Healthcare officials at the Ministry of Health and the Department of Public Health and its Surveillance Unit, in conjunction with officials from the Department of Environmental Health (DEHS), have been collaborating and will continue to collaborate on a number of measures aimed at protection and prevention,” Dr. Gomez said.

“This gentleman will have a follow-up with our Surveillance Unit as early as today so that this information is shared as we continue to work with the Bahamian public as we want them to work with us to keep The Bahamas safe from any potential threat to our public health.”

Chief Medical Officer for the Ministry of Health Dr. Glen Beneby, stressed the need for the public not to panic, as health officials anticipated the case and are doing everything to prevent the possible spread of the virus.

“We want the population to be aware and to understand that this is a public health issue and that together, we will try to stem any significant spread of this condition throughout the Commonwealth – not just Nassau, but the Family Islands as well.

“Persons need not panic. The Zika virus infection is of major concern due to the confirmed association between infection in pregnancy and birth defects such as Microcephaly. There have also been confirmed cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome in persons infected with Zika virus.

“What they should be doing is to be following the established protocols as indicated by the Ministry of Health, the Department of Public Health, its Surveillance Unit and the Department of Environmental Health – particularly females at child-bearing age and persons who are out at especially night,” Dr. Beneby said.

 Assistant Director of Environmental Health Services Andrew Thompson added that it will take a dual effort of Public Health officials and Bahamians to ensure that the threat is minimized.

“We have established protocols and one of the things I would like to say from the outset is that it is a partnership approach. Everyone has to be involved. DEHS is going to go around in areas and look for containers and treat them where necessary and we invite the public to manage that process. Increased efforts will be made in regards to fogging; especially in areas we have cases or suspected cases,” Mr. Thompson said.

If you think you or your family member might have a Zika virus infection please visit your nearest health care provider.

For further information about Zika you can contact the National Disease surveillance unit at 502-4776, 502-4790, 376-3809 or 376-4705.


Written by Jones Bahamas

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