Zika outbreak ends

US and international experts joined with Ministry of Health and RMI EPA to conduct mosquito spraying around Majuro Atoll in April as part of Zika eradication efforts. From left: Vector Disease Control International Dr. Broox Boze, RMI EPA Officer Aaron Lang, Ministry of Health team member Bobson Solomon, MOH team leader Jackson Jacklick, and Biologist Ashley Gramza.
US and international experts joined with Ministry of Health and RMI EPA to conduct mosquito spraying around Majuro Atoll in April as part of Zika eradication efforts. From left: Vector Disease Control International Dr. Broox Boze, RMI EPA Officer Aaron Lang, Ministry of Health team member Bobson Solomon, MOH team leader Jackson Jacklick, and Biologist Ashley Gramza.

No cases of the Zika virus have been detected in Majuro for two months, prompting the Ministry of Health to announce this week that Zika appears to no longer be present in RMI.

At the same time, Interim Health Secretary Dr. Kennar Briand cautioned that the virus is still active in Kosrae and others islands in the region, and vigilance is necessary as it could return at any time. The virus is transmitted both by mosquito bites and sexual contact.

“No acute cases (have been) detected in the past two months despite active surveillance of the disease,” said Briand this week. He said since last November, the ministry identified 11 residents of Majuro who had Zika. No one from Ebeye or the outer islands has been identified as having Zika, he said. In addition, “at least one baby has been severely affected,” Briand said.

“Although it appears that Zika is not present in RMI now, Zika outbreaks continue in the South Pacific and Kosrae,” he said, “and Zika could return at any time.”

In the meantime, an epidemic of conjunctivitis (pink eye) has hit the Marshall Islands, with 290 cases reported in Majuro Atoll last week, and some intending travelers showing pink eye symptoms being banned from boarding international flights.

“RMI is experiencing an epidemic of pink eye, which is expected to last several more weeks,” announced Dr. Briand Tuesday. The contagious virus causes redness, itching and discharge from the eyes.

Read more about this in the May 20, 2016 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.

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