ST GEORGE'S, Grenada (GIS) -- The ministry of health has advised that Grenada has reported its first laboratory confirmed case of zika virus infection.
A 27-year-old female non-Grenadian was diagnosed as the island's first case of the mosquito related illness. The case was confirmed on Wednesday by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) based in Trinidad.
The patient who reported fever and rash on April 26 was seen by a private practitioner on April 27 where her blood sample was taken.
The ministry was officially notified on April 28 and enacted the protocol to dispatch the sample to CARPHA laboratory where it was confirmed to be positive for the zika virus by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
The patient has a history of recent travel to St Vincent and the Grenadines, which has reported cases of zika virus infection. She later returned to Grenada to take up employment duties.
Upon receiving notification of the suspected case, the ministry dispatched vector control teams to the area, where entomological surveillance, treatment, and fogging were undertaken.
At a press briefing on Wednesday, health minister Nickolas Steele said his staff took those measures to contain the possible spread of the virus and to ensure that the ministry of health continues its eradication efforts of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
Chief medical officer Dr George Mitchell, who also spoke to reporters, indicated that the ministry was in touch with the patient.
The ministry of health reiterated that individuals should adhere to the under-mentioned practices as a means of protecting themselves:
The proximity of mosquito vector breeding sites to human habitation is a significant risk factor for zika virus infection. Prevention and control relies on reducing the breeding of mosquitoes through source reduction (removal and modification of breeding sites) and reducing contact between mosquitoes and people.
This can be achieved by reducing the number of natural and artificial water-filled habitats that support mosquito larvae, reducing the adult mosquito populations around at-risk communities and by using barriers such as insect screens, closed doors and windows, long clothing and repellents.
Since the Aedes mosquitoes (the primary vector for transmission) are day-biting mosquitoes, it is recommended that those who sleep during the daytime, particularly young children, the sick or elderly, should rest under mosquito nets (bed nets), treated with or without insecticide to provide protection. Mosquito coils or other insecticide vaporizers may also reduce the likelihood of being bitten.
During outbreaks, space spraying of insecticides may be carried out following the technical orientation provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to kill flying mosquitoes. Suitable insecticides (recommended by the WHO Pesticide Evaluation Scheme) may also be used as larvicides to treat relatively large water containers, when this is technically indicated.