On February 1, 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. This designation is reserved for public health crises which will have global reach. The first case of Zika virus in Jamaica was confirmed on January 29, 2016.
Cases of Zika virus in Jamaica
As at January 20, 2017, the Ministry of Health received nine thousand six hundred and five (9,605) notifications for the zika virus of which seven thousand three hundred and seventy one (7,371) or seventy seven percent (77%) fit the case definition for Zika and were classified as “Suspected Zika”.
Zika and Pregnancy
There were six hundred and fifty (650) cases of suspected Zika virus infection in pregnant women reported. Seventy seven (77) of these suspected cases have tested positive.
Congenital Syndrome Associated with Zika Virus Infection
There was a report of one (1) infant born at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital with microcephaly (confirmed using growth charts) received on January 10, 2017. The mother reportedly had a fever and a rash in pregnancy. The infant was born December 2016. This case was classified as a probable case of Congenital Syndrome associated with Zika Virus Infection. Testing of Mother and child is currently being undertaken.
Neurological Complications of Zika Virus Infection
There were one hundred and fifty seven (157) notifications for Guillain Barre (paralysis) Syndrome (GBS); thirty seven (37) of these fit the case definition for GBS based on clinical signs, symptoms and investigation results and were deemed suspected cases. Four (4) were zika positive.