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Zika virus cases decline - Health Ministry

The Ministry of Health says reported cases of Zika virus are continuing to decline, but it is not ready to declare an end to the outbreak.
   
Dr. Karen Webster-Kerr, Principal Medical Officer for Epidemiology, stressed that Jamaica will never be rid of the Zika virus.
   
She explained that her department is using what is referred to as an epidemiological curve to determine when to announce an end to the outbreak.
   
"We expect the downward trend to continue and then taper off; it will never, ever go back to zero again...but we usually wait four weeks after we see that final tail to say we are indeed at the end of the outbreak and we are now in endemic levels of Zika," Dr. Webster-Kerr outlined.

She said it is expected that the Zika virus will follow the trend of other mosquito borne illnesses, where there will be seasonal outbreaks.
                                       
Hand, Foot and Mouth disease

In the meantime, Dr. Webster-Kerr said there have been fewer reported cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease.
  
There was a surge in cases in the latter part of October into November, with most occurring in Kingston, St. Andrew as well as St. Catherine.

However, according to Dr. Webster-Kerr, "The numbers are almost down to zero now and we expect as school has closed for the younger children, that it should be the end."



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