On Wednesday April 13, 2016 the Office of the Chief Medical Officer was informed by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) of the confirmation of two additional cases of Zika virus disease in Saint Lucia. The patients are both female residing in separate locations within Saint Lucia. At the point of case confirmation, the two cases seem unrelated. There is no apparent clustering of cases as the confirmed cases to date are from separate communities within the island. Officials of the Ministry of Health are currently undertaking a full epidemiological investigation. These two cases follow the island’s confirmation of its first two of the Zika virus disease on Wednesday April 8, 2016.

In the interim, all persons islandwide are reminded to adopt and maintain measures to reduce exposure to this mosquito-borne virus. This includes storing water in tightly sealed containers to avoid the breeding of mosquitoes, using insect repellants and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to protect exposed skin from mosquito bites. Also, households should conduct routine checks inside and outside of their properties for potential and active breeding sites and when identified, immediately dispose of them, as has been recommended by the Ministry of Health.

Dr Sharon Belmar-George, Chief Medical officer of Saint Lucia breaks the news to the media.

Dr Sharon Belmar-George, Chief Medical officer of Saint Lucia breaks the news to the media.

The Ministry of Health maintains its strong collaboration with the tourism sector for a strategic approach to Zika virus preparedness. The Government of Saint Lucia, together with partners within the tourism sector, has invested in the procurement and set-up of In-2-Care Traps to strengthen the vector management programme with specific focus on locations with high mosquito indices. Tourism partners have also provided on-going support with donations of bed nets to be distributed at health facilities, the training of staff within the tourism sector, community clean-up campaigns and other health promotion and public awareness efforts.

The Ministry of Health continues to work in collaboration with regional and international partners as it seeks to manage the disease.

The public will be kept updated by the Ministry of Health on progress in managing the response to Zika virus disease in the country.

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