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39-Year-Old St. Thomas Man Is The Latest Person To Contract The Zika Virus In The Territory

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A 39-year-old St. Thomas man is the latest person in the territory to be confirmed as having contracted the Zika virus, according to the V.I. Department of Health.

Meanwhile, the local health department says that it has 12 confirmed cases of Zika and another 79 suspected cases of the mosquito-borne virus in the territory overall.

Officials said Tuesday that the majority of cases have been reported on the island of St. Croix, followed by St. Thomas. Most of the patients are women, but none of them are pregnant.

The island’s Department of Health said it expects the number of cases to increase.

U.S. authorities have urged people to avoid traveling to affected countries. Zika has become a concern because of potential ties to a rare birth defect called microcephaly.

“The Department anticipates additional cases will be confirmed as new lab results come back from the CDC. To date, 243 total samples have been received from St. Thomas and St. John district. Of these, 45 were received from symptomatic individuals. The DOH has also received test results for 9 samples: two of which were dengue positive as previously reported, and the one Zika positive case we are reporting today; the remaining six were negative” stated Commissioner Nominee Michelle Davis, PhD.

In addition, “the Department of Health continues to test pregnant women without symptoms of Zika. As of today, DOH has received samples for 402 pregnant women. Lab results have been received for 152, and all have been negative, except for the two previously reported dengue positives.

No cases of Zika have been confirmed in pregnant women. CDC has recommended all asymptomatic pregnant women residing in areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission be tested at the initiation of prenatal care with follow-up testing mid-second trimester,” added Kimberly Jones, Deputy Commissioner

The Department of Health has been preparing for additional cases in the territory and taking steps to educate the public on how to protect themselves from mosquito bites to prevent the virus from spreading further, including increasing public outreach and education on St. Thomas and St. John over the past two weeks. The Department of Health has been preparing by:



· Enhancing surveillance and lab testing capacity to detect cases. DOH is working in collaboration with CDC to expand local capacity to conduct initial Zika testing on St. Croix.

· Providing clinical recommendations and reinforcing healthcare infection control and other measures with local healthcare providers across all three islands.

· Educating the community about Zika through public outreach, media and social media. DOH and CDC officials will attend an upcoming public town hall on St. John on March 30 to share information with the community about Zika prevention.

· Administering local implementation of the CDC contract for vector control.

The Department of Health continues to distribute Zika Prevention Kits for pregnant women in the territory. As of today a total of 104 kits have been distributed from the initial 250 kits shipped by CDC earlier this month. Additional kits will be delivered in the coming weeks. Pregnant women can pick-up the free kits at the following locations:

St. Croix

Department of Health MCH Clinic

Department of Health WIC Clinic

Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center

Frederiksted Health Center

St. John

Health Care Connection

Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center

Morris F. de Castro Clinic

St. Thomas

Department of Health MCH Clinic (Pediatric)

Department of Health Community Health Clinic (Prenatal)

Roy Lester Schneider Hospital

East End Medical Center

For local information about Zika virus, call the Department of Health Emergency Operations Center at (340) 712-6205. For more general information about the Zika virus call toll free: 1-800-CDC-INFO.

Additional information

DOH’s Special section on Zika

Like DOH on Facebook

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
• General information about Zika virus and disease
• Zika virus information for clinicians
• Protection against mosquitoes
• Travel notices related to Zika virus
• Information about Zika virus for travelers and travel health providers

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)

For more information go to our website www.healthvi.org

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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