Nearly 20,000 Zika cases reported in Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN – The number of Zika cases keeps climbing in Puerto Rico.
Health Secretary Ana Ríus said Friday that more than 2,000 cases were reported in the past week for a total of nearly 20,000 cases. The total includes 1,706 pregnant women, a growing concern because Zika can cause severe birth defects.
Officials said 150 people have been hospitalized, including several of the 48 people diagnosed with a temporary paralysis condition linked to Zika known as Guillain-Barre. One person has died from that condition after becoming infected with Zika.
In addition, two people who had Zika coupled with other medical conditions have died.
Puerto Rico agencies have intensified their campaign against the virus door-to-door. The plan involves nearly 20 agencies with efforts aimed at eliminating the sources of mosquito breeding and avoiding the rise of infection cases.
Regarding the measures to fight the epidemic, the executive director of the State Agency for Emergency and Disaster Management (Aemead by its Spanish acronym), Ángel Crespo, said the plan includes identifying the places with the highest incidence of contraction as well as community work.
“We are joining efforts for the educational phase-visiting schools, training school staff and community leadership. To this are added efforts to clear mosquito outbreaks, fumigations and house-to-house visits. As part of the plan, we have also identified where the pregnant women live so they are taken care of directly by our community efforts,” he said.
Agriculture Secretary Myrna Comas said her agency is responsible for overseeing the use and application of pesticides to ensure it is carried out properly and that only chemicals registered for mosquito control are used.
“In partnership with the Health Department, we have carried out 14 seminars on dengue, Chikungunya and Zika control for the resident boards of the 332 public housing projects we have in 76 municipalities. Of the 52,206 units occupied, 70% have been fumigated with deltamethrin and the remaining are being coordinated with the residents. The estimated investment is of $720,000. Meanwhile, we have installed screen doors and window screens in 319 units with women who are pregnant, through a total investment of $196,107,” Housing Secretary Alberto Lastra said.