Since the last update in early August 4 more patients tested positive, adding up to a total of 9 confirmed Zika cases; 4 imported and 5 local transmissions.
The graph shows that a few weeks have passed without new confirmed cases. Even though this promising, it is too soon to say the outbreak on Saba is over: many potentially infected people will not have symptoms, people with symptoms do not always go to the doctor/get tested, a few samples sent out were not processed correctly and there is currently a respiratory virus going round that causes some similar symptoms as Zika making it more difficult to follow disease activity.
It is therefore very important to see one of the doctors if you are feeling ill. The doctor will then decide if testing for Zika is needed.
Take measures to prevent mosquito bites, especially pregnant women:
• Use insect repellents on exposed skin. Insect repellents that contain DEET, Picaridin (also known as icaridin), oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or IR3535 are the most effective and safe when used according to the label. If also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
• Where possible, wear light coloured long-sleeved shirts and long pants, socks and shoes to minimize exposed skin.
• When indoors use air conditioning or a fan, if available, and keep the doors and windows closed, unless they are screened, to keep out mosquitoes.
• As the virus can be sexually transmitted, partners of pregnant women and women that want to become pregnant should also be very strict in taking precautions to prevent mosquito bites and practice safe sex during pregnancy.
Protect your community and neighbours!
Check around your house for possible breeding sites at least once a week; cover, remove, empty or treat any open container. Call the vector control department for more advice or to report increases in mosquito numbers on 4162273 or 4163229.
Public Health Department Saba.