“Presently, we are monitoring 26 pregnant women who have tested positive for the Zika Virus Disease. Many of these cases presented early in pregnancy with the main symptom being a rash,” a statement from the Ministry of Health said Monday.
It said about half of the women had a recent history of fever, and relatively few presented with red eye or joint pains, while all of the pregnant women confirmed so far have recovered from the virus illness.
The Ministry said given the concerns regarding pregnancy outcomes in Zika positive pregnant women, these women are being monitored closely through antenatal care services.
The virus is transmitted mainly by mosquitoes but recent information from global public health authorities has confirmed that the disease can also be transmitted sexually.
The Ministry noted that in the context of the present Zika outbreak, women of child bearing age are encouraged to utilize contraceptives in order to prevent ‘unintended’ pregnancies.
“Contraceptives are available at all Wellness Centres within communities’ island-wide, as well as at the Saint Lucia Planned Parenthood Association and health related facilities within the private sector.
“Women who plan to become pregnant at this time are encouraged to take all measures to prevent themselves from being bitten by mosquitoes, and thereby, decrease their risk of becoming infected with the Zika Virus Disease,” the Ministry said.
Officials also said they are monitoring a patient diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome, who is suspected of being infected.
“The patient, an adult male, presented with weakness in his legs and difficulty walking, after suffering from Zika like symptoms. He has been treated according to standard protocol and has received immune therapy to halt the progression of the paralysis.
The Ministry of Health says that in conjunction with partners in health, tourism, public and private sectors and civil society groups it has implemented and continues to engage in a number of initiatives to decrease the impact of virus on the population.
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