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May 16, 2016

Zika is Finally Confirmed in Belize

Marvin Manzanero

The first case of Zika has been confirmed in Belize and health officials are tonight trying to locate its origin.  The results of samples sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency, CARPHA, were returned last week and one of the specimens has tested positive.  The samples were sent to the laboratory in Trinidad following a heightened surveillance exercise being conducted across the country.  The Ministry of Health has since launched an investigation and a number of measures have been undertaken to contain a potential epidemic.  The patient, according to Director of Health Services Doctor Marvin Manzanero, is a Belizean national.

 

On the Phone: Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services

“We got a confirmed positive case of zika from last week. As soon as that information was shared with us an investigation was launched by the epidemiology team from headquarters supported by the team from the Central Health Region. Investigation went through almost to the weekend and they are still continuing on today because we are trying to map out the area so that we do not have an outbreak. As you would recall about a month ago, we were doing active case finding in the area of down south. We couldn’t identify any other cases whenever we were doing that, but as we had been seeing from last year, we have a heightened active surveillance for any cases. So this case was picked up from that heightened surveillance through Karl Heusner actually so that it is not related to the initial case that we were investigating. We haven’t been able to link any other case. I can’t tell you that we have had any other potential cases. That’s all we have for right now. We still have not been able to ascertain how and where the patient got the virus.”

 

According to a release issued by the Ministry of Health today, more information will be shared once the investigation has been completed. 

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