First Imported Case Of Zika Virus In Bermuda

August 18, 2016

The Department of Health confirmed that a “person who recently travelled to a Zika-affected country has been diagnosed with Zika” which “represents the first confirmed imported [travel-related] case of Zika virus in Bermuda.”

“This person was known to the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit [ESU] and Vector Control as a suspected case. As with all suspected cases of Zika and other diseases spread by mosquitoes, control measures are put in place at the time of initial testing,” a spokesperson said.

Zika Bermuda TC August 18 2016

“The Department of Health does not wait until lab test results confirming Zika are received; the Department acts immediately. The Vector Control team increases its routine efforts to reduce mosquito-breeding sites within a three-mile radius of the home.

“In addition, the ESU advises the person about how to prevent any further spread by avoiding mosquito bites, and in the case of Zika, reducing the risk of sexual transmission.

“With frequent travel between Bermuda and areas with Zika virus in the Caribbean and the Americas, the Department of Health continues to work with health care providers, and local and regional public health partners to monitor possible imported cases.

“Imported cases make local spread possible because a type of mosquito that could potentially transmit the virus is found in Bermuda. The mosquitoes that could transmit Zika usually bite during the day.

“The public is advised to:

  • 1. Use an EPA-approved insect repellent every time you go outside, and follow label instructions.
  • 2. Drain standing water where mosquitoes can breed.
  • 3. Wear long sleeves and pants when outside.
  • 4. Protect your sexual partner for six months after travel in a Zika area by using condoms correctly and consistently.
  • 5. Use air conditioning or make sure doors and windows are screened to keep mosquitoes outside.

“Additionally, it is particularly important to protect pregnant women, or those who plan to become pregnant, from contracting the Zika virus, because Zika may cause developmental problems in the baby during pregnancy.

“Pregnant women should avoid unnecessary travel to areas with known Zika virus, and if travel is necessary, take careful precautions against mosquito bites and sexual transmission.

“All travelers should monitor their health. If travelers to Zika-affected areas experience fever with joint pains, rash or conjunctivitis, they should seek medical attention and inform the health care provider of their recent travel history.

“The health care provider may order testing based on an evaluation of a patient’s symptoms and likelihood of encountering the virus. There is currently no vaccine for Zika and the health care provider will advise on how to treat any symptoms.

Minister of Health and Seniors Jeanne Atherden said, “There has been no local spread of Zika virus reported in Bermuda.”

“Bermuda is not isolated from international outbreaks of disease and we all have a part to play in keeping Bermuda healthy,” said the Director of the Department of Health, David Kendell.

“Unlike other jurisdictions, our Vector Control team has been controlling our mosquito population for decades. That said, the public’s assistance is very helpful in lowering the risk of transmission.”

“The public is asked to help by preventing mosquito bites here at home. Report mosquito-breeding sites and tip standing water around homes and offices on a weekly basis. If you are being bitten, call Vector Control for assistance: 278-5397,” the Ministry added.

“The Department of Health will continue to test those suspected of having Zika virus. As we are frequent travelers, imported cases will occur from time to time. The Ministry will update the public in the event of any additional confirmed cases.”

The full Zika Virus Fact Sheet follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (14)

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  1. Truth is killin' me... says:

    Oh boy! Just a matter of time.

  2. Hope says:

    As a 30-something woman this does concern me for obvious reasons. I was bitten by mosquito’s just walking from my car to my office in broad daylight (a 20 second walk).

    Can someone provide some advice on how to be tested for Zika on the island? If a couple is planning on having children then presumably they would both wish to be tested prior to doing so (although of course Zika can still be contracted immediately after the test). Any chance that local GPs will be offering these tests as part of bloodwork?

    • 4ner says:

      Can those disliking please explain why? There are 2 as of now…

      Since you disapprove of avoiding the virus, what part of birth deformities do you support?

      • Toodle-oo says:

        Then they definitely wouldn’t like my suggestion that the infected should be quarantined indoors until they are no longer able to transmit the virus .

      • Hope says:

        I wouldn’t worry too much, sometimes I’ve found that if I’m scrolling through comments on my cell then you hit the dislike button by mistake as it’s right in the middle of your screen as you scroll down with your thumb. I bet a lot of dislikes are simply due to that.

        • Toodle-oo says:

          Oh dear . Have you never hear of the ‘Alaska Hall paid disliker brigade ‘ ?

          As plain and obvious as the nose on your face when they show up .

    • PROUD says:

      I called the travel clinic asking how to go about getting tested. They told me that “IF the person has suspects they have Zika and show symptoms, they have to go to their GP who will determine if they will send them for testing due to their symptoms.”

      I was confused by this process as it states that one 1 in 4 people have symptoms. Why is it that someone who has just traveled cannot walk into the clinic and have blood work sent off?

      • Hope says:

        Very good point. If I decide to start a family, then I will definitely be booking a blood test for myself and partner. As well as the majority of persons not having symptoms, this can also now be passed on through Bermuda mosquitos (however small the risk).

  3. Protect your partner using a condom for six months…why six months?
    Protect pregnant women from mosquito’s carrying this virus…OK I’ll buy a fly swatter…and one doze blue lights for entranceways to the house….an electric fly swatter too…
    How did you conclude that this person had zica?
    I mean…I wouldn’t know unless you toe me…
    Also …keep an eye on our insect control peoples properties..

  4. ct says:

    Should the person have been quarantined? It would seem sensible to minimize the potential spread.

  5. Information says:

    Can they at least mention where the person traveled so if others have traveled or are planning to travel to the same location better precautions can be taken or they can also be tested.

  6. Albie says:

    Public Works have a mountain of full blue recycling bags stashed behind the falling down Devon Springs recycling facility. They have been there for well over a year apparently due to the breakdown of the new facility at the Wilkinson Quarry. So many in fact they have a bulldozer on site to deal with the volume. The problem is that these bags are ripped open by the machine so rainwater can accumulate and rodents can feast on whatever is left in the exposed containers. Vector Control may well be on the case given that they are headquartered just down the street but I strongly suspect that they are not able to get to the top of the 20+ foot high pile. There is also at least one water tank on the property that may well be a great mosquito breeding place.
    Public Works should knock down the buildings and properly deal with the blue bag issue.