Director of Health Services updates on Zika cases

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Updated: January 26, 2017

Last year, the Ministry of Health announced that there were 581 suspected Zika cases in the country. That figure grew as we entered 2017. According to the Director of Health Service, Dr. Marvin Manzanero, a total of 889 cases of which 816 were by clinical suspicion and 73 were confirmed by laboratory testing. Testing was done in three facilities: Gorgas Institute in Panama, the CARPHA reference laboratory in Port of Spain and in neighboring Mexico.

Dr. Marvin Manzanero – Director of Health Services

“We are working on the Zika testing in Mexico. We started sending samples because the situation in Trinidad was a little bit difficult for us so we started sending samples to Chetumal. I believe we have to date gotten seven samples back positive, that is from November and December and part of this year; two of them I believe are from pregnant women.  What we are in discussions with the government of Mexico is to see if they could test the samples for other parvo viruses because they are negative for dengue, chikungunya and Zika so we are trying to get them to be tested for parvo viruses that we might not be aware of.

Reporter

“But is this separate from the pregnant women we learned about?”

Dr. Marvin Manzanero – Director of Health Services

“Yes these are two new cases and are both from the north.”

Reporter

“So then total, how many pregnant?

Dr. Marvin Manzanero – Director of Health Services

Voice 1: Last year I think we had I think about 14 pregnant women that were positive with Zika I believe three of them had delivered. We have not been able to link any microcephaly cases to Zika. I know two microcephaly cases we had last year were related to toxic plasmosis, which is an infection that has also been known to cause microcephaly in children but we haven’t been able to link Zika to any microcephaly cases.

Reporter

“And that determination happens at birth?

Dr. Marvin Manzanero – Director of Health Services

“We took samples at birth, because these women had not been sick, they babies were affected and that was when the samples were taken of the mom and the child and specimens were sent and when they came back they came back positive for toxic plasmosis.”

One of the biggest concerns for doctors when it comes to Zika in pregnant women is the possibility of the unborn fetus being affected by Microcephaly.