Month: July 2016

Zika update of as at July 22, 2016


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 July 22, 2016, the Ministry of Health received four thousand seven hundred and four (4,704) notifications for the zika virus of which three thousand two hundred and ninety four (3,294) or seventy percent (70%) fit the case definition for Zika and were classified as “Suspected Zika”.


Geographic spread

There are fifty five (55) laboratory confirmed cases. The confirmed cases were reported from the parishes of St Catherine (9), St Thomas (5), Clarendon (4) and Kingston & St. Andrew (25), Trelawny (1), Manchester (1), St. Ann (1) and nine (9) cases with unknown addresses.


Reported symptoms

Suspected Cases

The most frequently reported symptoms among suspected cases were fever, rash and joint pain broken down as follows:


Symptom                              Number of cases                            Percentage

Fever                                                  1540                                       72%

Rash                                                  1127                                       53%

Joint pain/stiffness                          856                                         40%

Headache                                         810                                         38%

Conjunctivitis (Red eyes)               387                                         18%

Muscle pain                                      330                                         15%

Cough                                                261                                         12%

Vomiting                                            244                                         11%

Back pain                                          233                                         11%


Confirmed cases

Among confirmed cases the most frequently reported symptoms were rash, fever and headache broken down as follows:


Symptom                              Number of Cases               Percentage

Rash                                                  20                                            83%

Fever                                                  15                                            63%

Headache                                         10                                            42%

Joint pain/stiffness                          9                                              38%

Conjunctivitis (Red eye)                 5                                              21%

Muscle pain                                      5                                              21%

Cough                                                3                                              13%

Back pain                                          3                                              13%

Vomiting                                            0                                              0%


Zika and Pregnancy

There were three hundred and fifteen (315) cases of suspected Zika virus infection in pregnant women. Eleven (11) of these suspected cases have tested positive.


Neurological Complications of Zika Virus Infection 

There were seventy one (71) notifications for Guillain Barre (paralysis) Syndrome (GBS); ten (10) of these fit the case definition for GBS based on clinical signs, symptoms and investigation results and were deemed suspected cases. Two (2) were zika positive.