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Zika Epidemic Officially Over In Puerto Rico

Dorathy Gass

The Zika virus has been a nightmare for some countries as of late, and one of the areas that suffered an epidemic around this illness was Puerto Rico. Still, the good news is, as per the governor’s office, the Zika epidemic in this area has been officially declared ‘over’.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last August that there was public health emergency when it came to Zika, where there were over 10,000 cases reported, which included 1,000 pregnant women affected. However, as per Puerto Rico’s Health Department, only ten cases have been noted since this past April.

CNN reported that as a mosquito-borne condition, Zika can also be sexually transmitted and is a huge issue for females that are trying to get pregnant or are pregnant, due to the serious affects the illness can have on an unborn baby.

The Puerto Rico Health Department unveiled their most recent figures on Zika (as of May 20th of this year), with over 40,300 confirmed cases of the illness since the epidemic started in 2016. Of those infected, 422 have been hospitalized with five cases resulting in death. There has also been 52 Zika cases that have resulted in Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a condition that results in temporary paralysis. The department also noted 38 cases of birth defects related to Zika.

While the outbreak is considered over, officials will still conduct monitoring and control of mosquitos in this area, as well as monitoring and screening of pregnant women will still proceed; something that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) support wholeheartedly. The organization recommends that women who are either trying to get pregnant or are pregnant still refrain from travelling to areas that are plagued with Zika, and this still includes Puerto Rico, despite the fact that the epidemic is ‘over’.

As there is still a risk around the illness, CDC noted that Health and Human Services’ public health emergency declaration, also stay in effect. It was recently updated in late April and will expire in late July.

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