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The Zika virus infection rate in the U.S. Virgin Islands — following an uptick in cases last week — has gone back done dramatically, with a combined total of only 7 new cases reported this week, according to the Department of Health’s latest report.
This week’s total of positive pregnant women cases rose to 145, an increase of two new cases week-on-week, following last week’s total of 143. Regular Zika virus cases saw St. Thomas leading with an overall number of 650, followed by St. Croix with 221, and St. John with 81 total cases. St. Thomas and St. John saw only one new case each this week, while St. Croix saw 6 new cases, according to the latest report, seen here.
D.O.H. has said that since the onset of the outbreak, its top priority in its Zika response efforts has been to protect pregnant women by providing free mosquito control services at their homes, Zika prevention kits (including bed nets, repellents, condoms, educational materials, larvicides dunks and permethrin spray), and free Zika testing. D.O.H. said it activated its Emergency Operations Center (E.O.C.) on February 10, 2016 to coordinate a proactive response to the Zika outbreak. Since the E.O.C. was activated, D.O.H.’s Zika response activities have included:
The department has also received support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). To date, CDC staff have completed 91 deployments to assist DOH with Zika response and DOH has hired four local staff through ASTHO to support the response long-term, D.O.H. said.
The department says it continues to partner with various community events to educate the public about Zika and provide prevention resources. On Saturday, D.O.H. staff provided free Zika testing, insect repellents and educational materials at the Bordeaux Farmers’ Vegan Fair on St. Thomas. The department’s staff are getting ready for the St. Croix Agricultural Fair, which is being held from February 18-20.
CDC recommends that all women living in an area with Zika be tested twice during their pregnancy, at the first prenatal visit and a second test in the second trimester. As a result of this recommendation, pregnant women in USVI are tested, even if they are not experiencing any Zika symptoms. Although Zika cases seem to be declining is USVI, DOH said it would like to remind residents that Zika is still in the territory, and encouraged everyone to continue taking precautions to prevent infection.
C.D.C. also recommended the following:
For questions about Zika in USVI or to receive any of the DOH’s free services, call D.O.H.’s Emergency Operations Center at 340-712-6205 or visit doh.vi.gov.
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