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Belize Sends Additional Samples to CARPHA; Awaiting Results on First Samples

Belize’s health officials have sent six more samples to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Port of Spain for ZIKA testing.  Majority of those samples derived from the south and were taken during the epidemiological investigation launched in the southern and western part of Belize.  Meanwhile, Belize’s health officials were expecting results from Port of Spain today from the two samples sent abroad to be tested for the ZIKA virus but up to news time this evening those results were still not in and therefore Belize remains potentially free of the virus.  In a conversation between CARPHA and health officials, this evening, we understand that our samples are on the priority list and will be processed shortly with results coming in by the end of the week as they are responsible for testing throughout the entire Caribbean region.  As we told you in one of our newscast last week, assessment teams from vector control were down south and out west conducting tests to see if there were any breeding sites or suspected cases of the virus.  The assessments came about after an American woman claimed that she had contracted Zika in Belize when she visited between March 14 and 19.  Since then health officials have been in communication with PAHO and the CDC and had launched an epidemiological investigation which seems to be nothing but a wild goose chase since the woman or the officials at CDC have been unable to provide an itinerary of the woman’s time spent in Belize.  The woman reportedly came down with a rash and subsequently the Zika infection was confirmed.  According to Dr Marvin Manzanero, the Director of Health Services, the Ministry of Health is still actively searching for potential cases.