Mandeville Weekly News

NO MICROCEPHALY CASE LINKED TO ZIKA VIRUS

Posted by SR (riley) on Oct 27 2016 at 12:25 AM
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The Health Ministry is reporting that there is no microcephaly case linked to the Zika virus (ZIKV).Based on data provided by the Ministry, there have been three cases of microcephaly in children reported to the Ministry as at October 12, however, none was defined as severe microcephaly and none of the cases reported were confirmed to be associated with the mosquito-causing virus.

The report indicates that based on the normal distribution of head circumferences and the annual live births of approximately 37,000, it is estimated that roughly 777 babies will be born with measurements in keeping with microcephaly and 37 with severe microcephaly. Microcephaly is defined as a condition in which the head circumference is small for the age and sex of the infant.  It is not a specific disease condition, but a descriptive term determined on physical examination, and is classified in two categories: microcephaly and severe microcephaly.

National Epidemiologist, Dr. Karen Webster- Kerr, said the Ministry has introduced a number of strategies to identify, investigate and follow up all the possible cases of microcephaly.  “We have introduced a new delivery book to ensure all babies’ head circumferences are measured and that this is recorded.  It has to be indicated in the book if the baby has microcephaly or not, it is in use now,” she notedDr. Webster-Kerr added that the Ministry has developed and implemented guidelines for the clinical management of mother and child, inclusive of a psychosocial component.  Training for private and public practitioners on these guidelines has been done.

The Ministry has also constituted an expert group on the Zika virus infection, which is giving advice for intervention in the areas of neurodevelopment, psychosocial education and intervention, diagnostics, obstetrics and research.A fund for services to families with children born with congenital anomalies possibly related to ZIKV infection has been implemented.A study has been conducted with funding from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to determine baseline data for microcephaly.  Preliminary results were made available by October 21.

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