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Apr 19, 2016

CDC Confirms Zika in Belize

The Center for Disease Control in the U.S. has confirmed that there is zika in Belize. The Ministry of Health, however, has not confirmed that report because it says it is still awaiting the results of samples sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency. The CDC has gone ahead to issue a travel alert on its website advising visitors to avoid mosquito bites and unprotected sex. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Belize remains at level two, following a travel notice issued by the United States Centers for Disease Control.  CDC, based in Atlanta, has reported that local transmission of Zika is taking place and has raised the state of alert to a secondary tier.  On the other hand, Director of Health Services, Dr. Marvin Manzanero maintains that the Ministry of Health has not yet confirmed the presence of the mosquito-borne illness in Belize.  Last week, personnel from the ministry conducted a series of epidemiological investigations which were to have been sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency for testing.  Those results are pending.  Meanwhile, visitors to Belize are being advised to practice enhanced precautions and recommends that travelers protect themselves from mosquito bites.

 

As we’ve reported, field studies have been done to determine whether the case of the American national who tested positive for Zika is indeed linked to Belize.  At present, specimen from Cayo and Punta Gorda have been sent to CARPHA for laboratory testing.  In the meantime, additional samples are also being prepared to be sent for testing in Trinidad.  A total of five samples will be sent to CARPHA in the days ahead.  While rapid testing is available in the private sector, Manzanero warns that those tests have not been green lighted for use by the Ministry of Health.

 

Ministry of Health officials will appear on Open Your Eyes on Wednesday to discuss among other things, the effects of microcephaly. 

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