ZIKV surge – Doctors say Zika cases are high and want to change virus reporting procedure | Stories of lead

Some Jamaican GPs are urging the government to review the reporting mechanisms for Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease, in light of what they claim to be the growing number of cases that exceed the 15 confirmed so far by the Ministry of Health.

The exhortation comes as Dr Christopher Tufton, Jamaica’s second health minister since Dr Fenton Ferguson and chikungunya disease (chik-V), is due to take stock of the urgently needed virus today. global public health. Ferguson has been accused of underestimating the chik-V incidents and this has put intense pressure on him as minister.

But less than 24 hours before Tufton’s update, the Association of General Practitioners (AGP) called for changes to the reporting and communication systems surrounding the Zika virus.

zika epidemic

According to Dr. Donald Gordon, chief of AGP, the 15 Zika cases that Tufton has confirmed do not give a “true picture” of how the Zika outbreak is unfolding.

“We are seeing an increase in the number of cases, and a number of doctors are seeing a large number of cases every day. Personally, I see about seven cases a day, and it has been happening for two or three years. did he declare The gleaner yesterday.

It’s a similar situation reported by Clarendon’s general practitioner (GP) Dr Winston Dawes. He claims that in the past two weeks he has seen around 10 patients with symptoms suggesting viral illness.

Unconfirmed cases can only be treated as suspects, but the AGP does not have a figure on the number reported by its members.

For cases to be confirmed, they must go through a rigorous procedural process that takes time, money and patience – exactly what practitioners argue may be necessary, but which could weaken prevention efforts. What doesn’t make it easy is that testing for Zika is scientifically difficult.

Dr Mary Sloper, a general practitioner based in St Andrew, said The gleaner that while his colleagues support the ministry’s anti-Zika campaign, improvements in the reporting process could help make interventions more targeted. In addition to reporting confirmed cases, she wants the ministry to report suspected cases.

“We had a problem because the [reporting] the protocol is old-fashioned, ”she argued.

“We (GPs) said it would be a great idea if you could tell us the number of suspected cases. for us GPs, nurses and anyone who is trying to bring about behavior change in particular, to prevent the microcephaly that’s going to happen. “

Microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with abnormally small heads, has been linked by global health experts to the Zika virus.

Reports have surfaced locally that a pregnant woman has been diagnosed with the virus. Tufton declined to confirm the report, saying he would address any concerns related to Zika during his press briefing today.

“We have received a number of reports, but (we are trying) to verify,” he said. The gleaner.

Just yesterday, officials at a US hospital announced the birth of a baby girl with Zika virus-linked microcephaly, the second such case for the North American country.

In the meantime, Sloper, Gordon and Dawes say the government needs to step up efforts to educate the public, especially with regard to empowering women of childbearing age.

“I don’t think a lot of people are fully aware of the consequences of ZIKV. It’s a message that really needs to be communicated clearly,” Gordon said, suggesting that even videos of the effects should be created and released.

In January, the Jamaican government warned women to delay pregnancy because of the potential impact of the Zika virus on newborns.

The latest data from the World Health Organization shows that as of May 25, sixty countries had reported cases of Zika.

Zika has no cure and is spread by the same mosquito that transmits the chikungunya virus – whose outbreak led to a serious public health emergency in Jamaica nearly two years ago and to Ferguson’s discredit.

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