Zika testing at local laboratories within 3 weeks


Testing for the Zika virus would be available at local laboratories within three weeks as the Public Health Ministry moves to manage the Zika virus infection generally and particularly in relation to pregnancies.


Currently, blood samples are sent for testing at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad.


According to reports, Health officials are currently monitoring two babies born with possible symptoms related to the Zika Virus. One of the babies was reportedly born on Monday, September 26, 2016, at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) to a woman who was diagnosed with the virus early in her pregnancy.


During a Press Conference on Thursday, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon noted that the works are ongoing with the Pan American Health Organisation and the World Health Organisation to have the Zika virus infection as well as Chikungunya and Dengue Fever addressed.


This he said was outlined by Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings when he presented the Ministry’s action plan to Cabinet on Tuesday.


With regard to pregnancies, the action plan outlined objectives such as; Early detection of fetus/infant infection, Adequate post diagnosis management of mothers and children, and the reduction of the incidence of infection in pregnant women.


Also outlined were intended and ongoing activities in relation to awareness, surveillance and reporting, training and the strengthening of health services to prevent and combat Zika virus infection, generally.


Cabinet noted that there were a number of reported cases of Zika virus infection in Guyana and urged that every effort is made to address this matter, Harmon said.


Among suggestions were a campaign to sensitise the public especially expectant mothers about the threat of the Zika virus and the activation of the Ministry of Public Health’s planned response to pandemics to deal with Zika virus infection.

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