Puerto Rico Health Department Says Zika Epidemic Under Control
SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rico Health Department said Tuesday that the Zika epidemic of 2016 has allegedly ended after levels of the virus’ transmission dropped “substantially.”
“Although there are currently very low levels of mosquito transmissions from Zika, it is important that we remain vigilant to keep these numbers down and support the families already affected by Zika,” State Epidemiologist Carmen Deseda said in a written statement.
She noted that Zika levels have declined since the same reporting period in 2016, with approximately 10 cases reported in each four-week period since April 2017, which is less than the more than 8,000 cases reported over a four-week period at the peak of the epidemic in August 2016.
These updated cases—as well as reporting and testing methodologies of laboratories administered by the Health Department—have been confirmed and reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), she said.
Deseda said the Health Department and the CDC will also continue to collaborate on consistent case definition and case reporting on the Zika virus in 2017.
“Puerto Rico has a very solid surveillance system. This will allow us to continue monitoring the number of Zika virus cases and to be prepared to respond quickly to any changing situation,” Health Secretary Rafael Rodríguez Mercado said in the release.
With CDC Interim Director Anne Schuhat adding that the center is “pleased that the peak of the outbreak of the Zika virus in Puerto Rico has come to an end; however, we can’t let our guard down. The CDC will continue its focus of protecting pregnant women and will work closely with the Puerto Rico Health Department to support comprehensive surveillance and prevention efforts of Zika in the island.”