Providenciales, TCI, July 25, 2016 – The Turks and Caicos is no longer Zika Virus Free, on Saturday night the Ministry of Health & Human Services through its information arm informed media that there are now five cases in the country and the news has serious implications for public health and tourism, our number one industry. Within minutes of posting the story, thousands had seen it and scores had shared the news as mosquito-borne, Zika has a frightening track record of an impacting innocent fetus in the womb with Microcephaly, which deforms the baby’s head, it is spread by men through sex and it likely causes the severe nerve disease, Guillain Barres Syndrome.
Also concerning is that Zika can be symptomatically, invisible: The Ministry explained: “Most persons who contract Zika are often not aware that they have the illness as they may not have any symptoms. Symptoms of Zika are similar to Dengue and Chikungunya and appear between four to seven days after someone has been bitten by an infected mosquito. These symptoms include mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye), muscle or joint pain, and general malaise or feeling sick.”
Health Minister Premier Rufus Ewing since February allotted $327,400 to fight the advent of Zika; which many had said was imminent and now it seems the TCI joins the 65 nations and 22 Caribbean nations which now record having the virus which is spread by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. The Health Promotion and Advocacy unit shared that we know the origin of three cases; but those countries were not cited in the media statement. The other two cases are still being investigated.