Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 20th 2016 Contents GEISHA KOWLESSAR
Samples from two other people, a
mother and son, have been taken to
determine if they are also carriers of the
The results are expected to be known
by next Monday.
The announcement was made by Chief
Medical Officer Dr Clive Tilluckdharry
at a press briefing held by the Ministry
of Health at its office in Park Street, Port-
Tilluckdharry said the woman, a 60-
year-old teacher, and her son, both from
Central, had displayed symptoms of the
Samples were taken on Wednesday and
sent for testing.
"I myself had to take samples of two
persons from the Freeport area to Carpha
(Caribbean Public Health Agency) for
"The person had headache, chills, rash
which she got last Saturday...like measles
on her face and abdomen because Zika
in some cases presents like measles. I
personally think it is more chikungunya
than Zika but I am awaiting confirma-
"One of her sons was ill the week before
and had to get IV fluids by a GP (general
practitioner). Within two days he returned
and had to get another set of IV fluids,"
He said the private doctor who pre-
sented the sample which resulted in the
first confirmed case of Zika in the country
was well aware that the Aedes aegypti
mosquito was also the carrier of the
dengue and chikungunya viruses.
"The particular patient had joint pains
followed by fever with a rash distributed
mainly in the lower abdomen. You also
get this with chikungunya," Tilluckdharry
In giving an update on that patient
who is from Diego Martin, he said the
61-year-old victim who had recently trav-
elled to New Zealand was now "well and
Other family members who had visited
the home were also well and neighbours
who were also checked were deemed free
of the virus, Tilluckdharry said.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh
yesterday corrected statements previously
made that New Zealand was Zika free.
"In retrospect that is not exactly true.
New Zealand is a country free from the
Aedes aegypti mosquito. But they do have
some cases of imported Zika from neigh-
bouring Pacific islands," Deyalsingh said
On whether the woman could have
contracted the virus while in New
Zealand, Tilluckdharry said the woman
who had made stops in Chicago and Fort
Lauderdale became symptomatic on Feb-
ruary 10, which was about 16 days after
she returned from New Zealand.
"Incubation period for the Zika virus
is between three to 12 days so it is highly
unlikely that this patient picked up the
virus in New Zealand; so it is most likely
a local case so there may be other cases,"
He said it was difficult to produce a
vaccine for the Zika virus as the Aedes
aegypti mosquito was also the carrier of
dengue and chikungunya.
"The Aedes aegypti is well distributed
throughout T&T so we are well suscep-
tible to the Zika virus.
"Just like dengue and chikungunya,
Zika presents headache, fever, joint pain
with a rash, in some cases red eyes, vom-
iting and diarrhoea. So it's non-specific,"
He urged that all vector-borne diseases
be gotten rid of by eradicating the Aedes
On whether the ministry was warning
women not to get pregnant, Deyalsingh
said this remained a personal decision.
He said the ministry has ramped up
its inspection and fogging exercises
throughout the country.
Saturday, February 20, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Even as officials at the Diego Martin
Regional Corporation (DMRC) ramped up
spraying and cleaning operations through-
out the district, officials have stressed that
it was not as a result of the first confirmed
case of the Zika virus, but due in large part
to the comprehensive plan they had earlier
During a telephone interview yesterday,
DMRC chairman Kathy Christopher con-
firmed the country's first known Zika case
had been diagnosed in a female resident of
Victoria Gardens, who had recently returned
from a trip to New Zealand.
Two days after Health Minister Terrence
Deyalsingh activated the ministry's rapid
response plan to treat and prevent the spread
of the virus on February 2, Christopher said
corporation officials established an emergency
operations centre and appointed an Incident
Commander, Public Health Officer Dr
Anthony Chang Kit.
Two other public health officers have been
assigned responsibility for logistics and oper-
Revealing that the corporation was respon-
sible for cleaning vacant lots and watercourses
in all areas under their purview, Christopher
said this included the entire Diego Martin
region, Petit Valley, Maraval, Carenage,
Chaguaramas and even the islands off the
Admitting that it was quite a large area,
Christopher said they had already begun
cleaning vacant lots and drains, as well as
removing bulk waste which could be used
as a breeding ground for the Aedes aegypti
mosquito through which the virus is trans-
mitted. She added that they were also work-
ing alongside the Insect Vector Control Divi-
sion (IVCD) which is responsible for carrying
out spraying operations and the Drainage
Division of the Ministry of Works which is
responsible for cleaning and clearing major
One day after Health Minister Terrence
Deyalsingh confirmed this country's first case
of the Zika virus had been recorded in Victoria
Gardens, Diego Martin, residents there are urg-
ing the relevant authorities to adopt a more
proactive approach to minimising its spread.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, residents
within the gated community yesterday expressed
their disappointment with the work being done
by the Diego Martin Regional Corporation, the
County Medical Officer of Health and the Insect
Vector Control Division, Ministry of Health, to
rid the area of mosquitoes.
The Zika virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti
mosquito which also transmits the dengue and
Admitting that it was "really a case of personal
responsibility," several residents agreed that each
property owner had chief responsibility for ensur-
ing their premises were free of any items which
could act as a breeding site for mosquitoes.
However, some were quick to add that prior
to the confirmation of the first Zika case they
had not "seen" much work being done in the
Calling on the ministry to reveal the name of
the resident who had been diagnosed with the
virus, some of the residents disagreed with the
matter being kept "quiet."
They argued that they had a right to know, so
they could take more precautions.
In addition to the spraying operations which
have been carried out over the last two days in
the area, corporation officials returned yesterday
morning to begin clearing minor watercourses.
Chairman of the Diego Martin Regional Cor-
poration, Kathy Christopher, has said that work
will continue to clear drains in the area and that
spraying operations and property inspections will
also be done.
Efforts to confirm the identity of the 61-year-
old woman diagnosed with the virus proved futile,
despite information from other nearby residents
that the woman was still suffering from the effects
of the virus.
At the house, which was identified by the res-
idents as belonging to the woman, a man emerged
and said, "The Ministry of Health has asked us
not to speak to the media."
He later denied his wife was ill and directed
all questions to the ministry.
A drive through the neighbourhood revealed
that while the majority of the properties had
neatly cut lawns and pruned hedges, there were
some properties which appeared to be neglect-
ed.Bags containing garbage and old plant cuttings
were also seen piled outside some of the hous-
es.One resident was very critical of the manner
in which public health officials were operating
as she said, "At one house, the female officer
didn't even enter the property to inspect for
breeding sites. She just asked for the owner's
health card and signed it negative."
The woman said when the officer was chal-
lenged as to why a proper examination of the
property was not done before signing the card,
the officer threatened to sign it as positive and
"send the ministry back."
Contacted about the concerns expressed by
the residents and the threat by the officer in par-
ticular, Christopher expressed shock over the
She promised to pass on the information to
the county medical officer, so further incidents
could be avoided.
Two new suspected cases in Central
Mother and son
tested for Zika
Workers from the Ministry of Health's Insect Vector Control Division carry out spraying
at Victoria Gardens, Diego Martin, yesterday, after the first Zika virus case was confirmed
in that area on Wednesday. PHOTO: DAVID WEARS
Victoria Gardens residents
Take more proactive
steps to stop virus
Diego corporation ramps up spraying
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