The US based Centers of Disease Control, and Prevention, CDC, has extended its travel advisory to include Jamaica after a case of the mosquito-borne Zika virus was detected locally.
The travel advisory warns pregnant women or those seeking to become pregnant against travelling to countries where the virus has been detected.
A four year old boy from Portmore in St. Catherine, has been confirmed as the country’s first case of Zika.
Local health authorities are uncertain if he contracted the virus locally or became infected during a trip to Texas in January.
The Health Ministry says 27 samples taken from Jamaicans are now being tested by the Trinidad based Caribbean Public Health Agency, CARPHA.
Health Minister, Horace Dalley, is reminding doctors in private practice that they are obligated to report all suspected cases of the Zika virus.
Minister Dalley says under the Public Health Act and Regulations, doctors must report any notifiable suspected case of an illness to the Health Ministry, in the manner prescribed by the Act.
He says that in the case of the Zika virus, the Ministry is treating it as a class one notifiable disease.
As such, reports are to be made within 24 hours.
Meanwhile President of the Medical Association of Jamaica, MAJ Dr. Myrton Smith says members have been instructed to inform the Ministry if they’ve treated anyone with Zika.
Dr. Smith says the doctors have been given a reporting protocol by the Ministry of Health.
And Minister Dalley is asking Dr. Sandra Williams Phillips, to provide the Health Ministry with the information she claims she has regarding cases of Zika.
Dr. Williams Phillips, a senior medical consultant, told the media in October last year that she had diagnosed 12 cases of the Zika virus.
She noted then that she had taken steps to inform the former Health Minister, Dr. Fenton Ferguson.
Minister Dalley says Dr. Williams Phillips should include the names of those patients whom she may have treated or who she believes may have shown similar symptoms to her patients.
Minister Dalley is asking Dr. Williams Phillips to meet with him and provide any information she may have on this matter by 1pm today or by 11am on Friday.