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The Puerto Rico Department of Health Has Declared That the 2016 Zika Epidemic is over;Zika Transmission Has Substantially Decreased in Puerto Rico below Epidemic Levels

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Jun 05, 2017 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Zika
transmission has substantially decreased in Puerto Rico below
epidemic levels, and the Puerto Rico Department of Health
(PRDH) has declared that the 2016 Zika epidemic is over.

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Zika levels have substantially decreased since the same
reporting period in 2016, with approximately 10 cases reported
in each four-week period since April 2017, which is down from
>8,000 cases reported in a four-week period at the peak of
the epidemic in August 2016. These updated cases, as well as
the reporting and testing methodologies by laboratories run by
the PRDH have been confirmed and reported to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and CDC and PRDH will
also continue to collaborate on consistent case definitions and
reporting of Zika virus cases in 2017 and beyond, according to
Dr. Carmen Deseda, MD, State Epidemiologist.

“While there are very low levels of mosquito-borne Zika
transmission now, it is important that we remain vigilant to
keep these numbers down and support families already affected
by Zika,” said Dr. Deseda.

Since 2016, the PRDH and CDC have been strongly collaborating
to control the outbreak and prevent further long-, and
short-term public health consequences. “PRDH has been committed
to a strong public health response,” said Dr. Rafael
Rodriguez-Mercado, MD, Secretary of Health.

“In coordination with the CDC, we have put in place a
comprehensive program focused on preparation, prevention,
precaution and surveillance,” said Dr. Rodriguez-Mercado.
“These efforts can be used as a model for other regions
experiencing local Zika virus transmission.”

“Puerto Rico has a very strong surveillance system. This will
allow Puerto Rico to continue to monitor the number of Zika
virus cases, and be ready to rapidly respond to any changing
situation,” said Dr. Rodriguez-Mercado.

“We are pleased that the peak of the Zika virus outbreak in
Puerto Rico has come to a close,” said CDC Acting Director Anne
Schuchat, MD. “However, we cannot let our guard down. CDC will
continue to focus on protecting pregnant women and work closely
with PRDH to support comprehensive Zika surveillance and
prevention efforts on the Island.”

Prevention and control activities include strengthening
surveillance and laboratory capacity, and carrying out mosquito
control. The highest priorities and responsibilities include
continuing to improve active surveillance systems, and
strengthening capacity to ensure that all pregnant women are
closely monitored and screened throughout each trimester of
their pregnancy for Zika, and that monitoring and appropriate
care is provided for their babies. “It is because of the strong
actions of the people of Puerto Rico that 2016 cases decreased,
therefore the people of Puerto Rico will need to continue to
work together to prevent future cases,” said Dr.

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SOURCE: Puerto Rico Department of Health

Puerto Rico Department of Health
Eric Perlloni Alayón, 787-765-2929 Ext. 3177

Copyright Business Wire 2017

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