Update on Zika Virus in the Americas: The Bahamas and Puerto Rico
On August 10, the first confirmed case of Zika virus in The Bahamas was reported in New Providence (BIS). According to The Bahamas Ministry of Health, the confirmed case involved an individual who had recently traveled to Jamaica—where (as of August 5) active local transmission of the virus in the country has led to more than 4,000 “Suspected Zika” cases since January (Jamaica MOH).
In order to “stem any significant spread” of Zika throughout the island nation, The Bahamas Ministry of Health is recommending that established protocols for prevention and protection against mosquito bites be followed, especially for women of child-bearing age and individuals who are out at night (BIS).
On August 12, a public health emergency was declared in Puerto Rico, due to the rapid and widespread transmission of Zika virus in the U.S. territory (HHS). As of August 11, the number of laboratory-confirmed Zika cases had reached 10,690, including 1,035 pregnant women (Puerto Rico DOH, Reuters).
The ongoing Zika virus outbreak in the Americas was first reported in Brazil in May 2015; as of August 11, the number of countries and territories reporting Zika virus transmission had reached 52 (WHO).
RVA Country Profile: The Bahamas
This Week in Hazards
- After more than two years without wild (naturally occurring) poliovirus cases in Nigeria, reports confirm (as of August 11) that two children in Borno State have become paralyzed by the disease (WHO, Reuters). According to the Federal Ministry of Health, detection of the virus was a result of strengthened disease surveillance due to improved accessibility to communities in the northeastern parts of the country (FMOH). Nigeria is responding to the outbreak by prioritizing rapid immunization of children around the affected area; while neighboring Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and the Central African Republic, are also launching national immunization programs (WHO, Reuters).
- Days of heavy rainfall led to widespread flooding in Louisiana, United States, which prompted a Major Disaster Declaration on August 14 (FEMA, NASA). As of August 15, more than 20,000 people had been rescued from flood waters in southern Louisiana (Reuters, ECHO). Flood warnings remain in effect for a number of parishes in Louisiana, especially in those with waterways that drain into the swollen Amite and Comite Rivers, as backwater flooding remains a concern (NWS). For more information on the ongoing flood response, local shelter information, and the status of services, visit: http://emergency.louisiana.gov/.
- A creeping landslide continues to threaten villages in West Java, Indonesia (BNPB). The landslide, which began on August 16, has damaged more than 400 houses, and prompted the evacuation of residents in Cimenteng and Nagrakjaya villages.
Current Hazard Warnings
Flood: Australia (Queensland, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria), Nepal, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, United States (Louisiana, Illinois), Laos, Indonesia (East Java), Sudan, South Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia, Eritrea
Landslide: Laos, Indonesia (West Java)
Wildfire: United States (California)
Drought: United States (Western, Southern, Northeastern), Bolivia (Southern)
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