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In spring 2016, amid the maelstrom of fears over the Zika virus, the Cayman Islands government announced with considerable public fanfare that officials were partnering with a British firm to introduce a novel mosquito control method to the territory.
Testing for mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya can now be carried out in the Cayman Islands after the Health Services Authority’s laboratory was authorized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to do the screenings.
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The hyperbolic reaction to Zika was only the latest in a series of “sky-is-falling” crises propagated and amplified by media outlets in search of compelling content.
The Cayman Islands has been removed from an American advisory list that warns travelers where there is a risk of local transmission of the Zika virus. The jurisdiction was placed on the U.S-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list last year.
The head of Cayman’s Mosquito Control and Research Unit, one of the driving forces behind the use of genetically modified mosquitoes on the island, is leaving the role.
Opponents of the use of genetically modified mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands say an application to use the technique island wide is “premature.”
After a judge rejected their bid to halt the release of genetically modified mosquitoes in Grand Cayman, a group of protesters are now seeking to fight their case in the court of public opinion. Kerrie Cox, an attorney with HSM Chambers, held a presentation Tuesday morning.
As fears over the spread of the Zika virus fade, public health officials are warning of a likely outbreak of a new strain of dengue fever in the Caribbean. There have been no new cases of Zika in Cayman since December, but doctors and scientists at the MRCU warn of new threats on the horizon.
During the summer of 2016, an epidemic swept across the Western Hemisphere. We’re not referring to the Zika virus – no, not exactly – but the widespread panic among members of the population who feared that Zika would cause a generational tidal wave of birth defects.
Dry weather over the past weeks may signal the end of mosquito season for the year, and with it a lower threat of the mosquito-borne Zika virus. The number of suspected Zika cases has dropped significantly from a high of more than 20 per week at the end of the summer to one or two cases per week now.
Public health officials say they have confirmed 20 cases of locally transmitted Zika virus, the mosquito-borne illness that can cause severe birth defects when pregnant women contract the disease.
In dueling votes over a proposed trial of Oxitec’s genetically modified mosquitoes, voters across one Florida county supported releasing the insects, while voters in the town earmarked for the project rejected holding the trial there. Key Haven voted overwhelmingly Tuesday against the proposal, but voters in Monroe County supported holding the trial.
Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell hailed the impact of increasing arrival figures in bringing down unemployment as the Cayman Islands gears up for what is expected to be the busiest high season on record.
The East End town hall meetings about the Zika virus will be taking place on Tuesday, Nov. 8, from 5:30-7 p.m. at the East End Civic Centre. The meetings have been scheduled by the Public Health Department to inform residents about Zika and to address concerns, especially for pregnant women.
Future applications to bring alien species, including genetically modified organisms, into the Cayman Islands could face environmental impact assessments, similar to that required for major developments, under a new policy being devised by the National Conservation Council.
Residents of the Florida Keys go to the polls Nov. 8, deciding not just between presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, but casting a vote on whether or not to test genetically modified mosquitoes on one small island near Key West.
One new case of locally transmitted Zika was reported by public health officials on Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed local cases to 19. A total of 10 cases of overseas transmission have been confirmed. Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez said Cayman has had an additional 230 suspected cases of Zika that were not confirmed by laboratory tests.
A second pregnant woman has tested positive for the Zika virus, according to Cayman Islands public health officials. The second case was confirmed after a report was made by the Public Health Department on Wednesday, indicating that 17 locally contracted cases were confirmed along with 10 cases in people who had traveled overseas.
The number of imported cases of the Zika virus has increased to 10, while locally transmitted Zika cases remain at 17, according to the latest Public Health Department figures. Since the last update on Sept. 26, five results were received from the Caribbean Public Health Agency in Trinidad.
Town hall meetings about the Zika virus have been rescheduled. The meetings have been scheduled by Public Health to inform residents about Zika and to address concerns, especially for pregnant women. Everyone is invited, particularly pregnant women.
Cayman now has 17 confirmed locally transmitted cases of Zika, including one pregnant woman, according to public health officials. All of the confirmed local cases are in George Town. The total number of cases confirmed with laboratory results, including those suspected to have come from overseas travel, is now 26.
The disease, disruption and dismay they cause, however, is world-class, beyond all proportion to their size. This is what you need to know about the seven genuses of mosquito that call the Cayman Islands home.
Public health officials Tuesday evening announced the first confirmed case of Zika in a pregnant woman on island. Dr. Samuel Williams Rodriguez, Cayman’s acting medical officer of health, said his department has confirmed seven new cases of the virus.
The Public Health Department’s upcoming series on the Zika virus may be just what the doctor ordered.
Cayman Islands public health officials are hosting a series of meetings aimed at informing local residents, especially pregnant women, about risks associated with the Zika virus. The meetings are set to start on Tuesday.
Three more cases of local transmissions of the Zika virus have been confirmed through laboratory testing, bringing the total number of Zika cases transmitted locally to 12, according to the Cayman Islands Public Health Department.
Four new local cases of Zika virus has been reported in Cayman, bringing the total number of locally transmitted cases to nine, according to public health officials.
With the arrival of Zika in Cayman, much talk has been about pregnant women whose unborn children face dangers if exposed to the virus. But recently some seniors in West Bay had the chance to get information that addressed their concerns.
Researchers studying the release of genetically modified mosquitoes in West Bay say they are starting to see the gene show up in mosquito larvae, meaning those mosquitoes likely will not survive to adulthood.
The staff at Cayman’s Mosquito Research and Control Unit has been putting in long days as they fight to stop Zika transmission in Grand Cayman.
Having worked in the field of maternal and child health in Africa for many years, I am greatly concerned as to the general response by the government to Zika.
The Zika virus presents an unprecedented threat to the people of our nation, especially pregnant women.
Two more people, both of George Town, have tested positive for the Zika virus, according to the Public Health Department. There are now five confirmed cases of Zika in the Cayman Islands, all of which have been in George Town.
Some pregnant women have left the Cayman Islands and others are putting off moves to Grand Cayman now that there are known local Zika transmissions. But leaving a job and traveling overseas is not an option for many women who are pregnant and couples trying to conceive.
Public health officials Thursday confirmed a third local case of the Zika virus, all of which have occurred in George Town.
Zika-related travel warnings for tourists, like the one issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, show little impact on tourism, based on available data for other Caribbean Islands.
A new government survey found most people on Grand Cayman support the ongoing trial of genetically modified mosquitoes in West Bay.
The mosquito-borne Zika virus is perhaps best known and most feared for causing severe birth defects in babies whose mothers contract the disease while pregnant.
Zika is a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which also carry dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. Symptoms are generally mild and many people do not even know they have contracted the virus. However, the virus can be dangerous for pregnant women.
Public health officials in the United States issued a warning Thursday that pregnant women should not travel to the Cayman Islands.
Two people in George Town are Cayman’s first official cases of locally transmitted Zika, according to public health officials. The islands have had six cases of Zika imported by people visiting other countries, but these are the first reported incidents of the virus being acquired locally.
Premier Alden McLaughlin, in a press statement Tuesday, criticized opponents of the genetically modified mosquito program, as the Public Health Department confirmed Cayman’s first local cases of Zika.
The Public Health Department late Monday confirmed the first locally transmitted case of Zika in the Cayman Islands. Previously, there had been seven documented cases that were contracted outside of Cayman, but public health officials confirmed that a man in George Town is the first person confirmed to became infected with Zika in the islands.
As Oxitec and the Mosquito Research and Control Unit ramp up releases of genetically modified mosquitoes in West Bay, regulators in the U.S. gave the company the green light to test the GM mosquitoes on an island in the Florida Keys.
The Rio Summer Olympics start Friday, when the best of the best will compete on the world stage.
The Cayman Islands’ fourth imported case of the Zika virus was confirmed Wednesday by public health officials.
Given the choice between the risks associated with “natural” Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (which carry nasty viruses like Zika, chikungunya, dengue and yellow fever) and the potential risks of “genetically modified” Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (which are engineered to reduce the wild population) – we find ourselves more and more inclined to give the GM mosquitoes a chance.
When lawyers of opponents to the genetically modified mosquito project filed an application for a stay and judicial review on July 13 – a review that could have ended the project – Justice Ingrid Mangatal suddenly had more than 598 pages worth of evidence and documents to review.
The release of millions of genetically modified mosquitoes in West Bay can proceed, after a Grand Court judge on Tuesday refused an application for another stay of the project.
Biotechnology company Oxitec, in collaboration with the Mosquito Research and Control Unit, is conducting an island-wide survey on the level of awareness about mosquito-borne diseases, including Zika, chikungunya and dengue.
A third case of imported Zika virus in the Cayman Islands has been confirmed by public health officials.
A third case of imported Zika virus in the Cayman Islands has been confirmed by public health officials.
Ahead of the release of genetically modified mosquitoes in West Bay, scheduled to begin Thursday, the Mosquito Research and Control Unit and U.K. biotech firm Oxitec invited members of the media for an inside look of the new lab, where half a million male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are being bred.
The release of millions of genetically modified mosquitoes in West Bay is to begin next week, government announced Thursday.
Public Health Department officials said Wednesday they are awaiting test results on six suspected cases of the Zika virus.
The planned release of genetically modified mosquitoes was delayed because — read carefully — the Cayman Islands government was unable to obtain a government permit.
Two cases of imported Zika virus in the Cayman Islands have been confirmed by public health officials.
The planned release of millions of genetically modified mosquitoes in West Bay, scheduled to begin in mid-June, has been put off until this month because of delays in securing a permit, according to the Mosquito Research and Control Unit and Oxitec representatives.
Test results for three out of four samples cases have come back negative from the Caribbean Public Health Agency, Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez said in a press release Friday.
The Public Health Department is awaiting test results for three Cayman residents and one visitor after they presented symptoms consistent with the Zika virus.
Fear over the spread of the Zika virus in the Caribbean has been blamed for a decline in stay-over tourism in Grand Cayman this year.
West Bay opposition MLAs are calling for the suspension of plans to release millions of genetically modified mosquitoes in their district.
The recent case of Zika possibly linked to Cayman was not spread by local mosquitoes, but was sexually transmitted by a tourist’s partner from St. Maarten, the Cayman Islands Public Health Department said Wednesday.
The Public Health Department Wednesday said the case of Zika linked to Cayman was not transmitted by local mosquitoes but instead was sexually transmitted by a partner from St. Maarten.
With the start of the rainy season and the first possible case of Zika linked to Cayman, the Mosquito Research and Control Unit is ramping up its operations to combat nuisance and disease-carrying mosquitoes.
More than 570 people have signed an online petition calling for the Cayman Islands government to suspend plans to release millions of genetically modified mosquitoes in the district of West Bay.
A stayover tourist tested positive for Zika after returning home, the Public Health Department said Friday. The department has not confirmed whether the person contracted Zika in Cayman, but this is the first case of the virus, which can cause birth defects in babies from infected mothers, associated with Cayman.
A Cayman Islands public health official confirmed Friday that a visitor to Cayman has been diagnosed with the Zika virus.
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