Suspected Zika cases test negative

Test results for three out of four samples cases have come back negative for Zika from the Caribbean Public Health Agency, Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez said in a press release Friday.

The test results were also negative for dengue and chikungunya for the same three cases.

A fourth case tested was inconclusive for Zika, as it was not tested for the virus within the recommended time frame of five days or less from the onset of symptoms, according to the Public Health Department. The patient came to the hospital seven days after the onset of symptoms. The results for this case are pending for dengue and chikungunya.

The Public Health Department had reported last week that it was awaiting test results for three Cayman residents and one visitor after they presented symptoms consistent with the ZIka virus.

Three of the four people from whom samples were taken had traveled to countries experiencing a Zika outbreak, while the fourth sample was taken from a Cayman Islands resident who had no travel history.

“While the results have yielded negative, with the regional outbreak in mind, we should not be complacent and medical personnel should remain on high alert to look for any imported cases,” Dr. Williams-Rodriguez said in the press release.

He added that while the Zika virus is mainly transmitted through Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, other modes of transmission, such as sexual transmission, have been documented.

“All men returning from where local transmission of Zika virus is known to occur should adopt safer sexual practices or consider abstinence for at least four weeks after return,” Dr. Williams-Rodriguez said. “Persons who develop Zika virus symptoms within two weeks of having returned from countries with Zika virus cases are advised to consult their physician and inform of their travel history.”

As of June 26, 2016, Zika cases have been confirmed in 61 countries, including countries/territories in the Caribbean. There have been no confirmed Zika cases in the Cayman Islands.

In the press release, MRCU director Bill Petrie reminded the public to help reduce the Aedes aegypti mosquito species – which can carry and transmit dengue, chikungunya and Zika – locally by removing containers that hold water from yards, as these are favorite mosquito breeding sites.

For more information, call the Public Health Department on 244-2648 or 244-2621, or Faith Hospital on 948-2243.