First Zika-related microcephaly case recorded in Grenada
ST GEORGE’S – One Caribbean country has confirmed its first case of Zika-related microcephaly, while another is investigating a possible case.
Grenada has confirmed that a baby was born with the birth defect, while Jamaican authorities have dispatched samples from a baby suspected of having the condition to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for testing.
Microcephaly is a birth defect in which a baby’s head and brain are smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age.
Grenada’s Health Minister Nickolas Steele revealed that the baby was born in the last quarter of 2016, but it was now only being disclosed to the public .
“We did not want to raise an alarm because we saw that as private,” Steele said, refusing to disclose the location of the child.
Steele assured the family was being monitored and insisted there was no need for undue concern about the virus transmitted by the Aedes Egypti mosquito.
He reported that no new cases of the disease have been recorded in recent time.
At the height of the Zika outbreak, Steele said 11 people were diagnosed with the Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS), a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system.
Two of the people who contracted GBS have since died.
Meanwhile, Jamaican health authorities are hoping to confirm within another week whether the island has recorded its first Zika-related microcephaly case.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Winston De La Haye told journalists a baby was born in late December at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital in Kingston with microcephaly, but the ministry was only notified about the probable case on January 10.
He noted that the young mother had Zika-related symptoms including a rash and fever during pregnancy.
Dr De La Haye said the CARPHA test results would determine the exact cause of the condition in the infant, while ruling out other conditions that could cause microcephaly, apart from the Zika virus.