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Opposition warns of explosion of microcephaly cases in Jamaica

Featured Opposition spokesman on Health, Horace Dalley Opposition spokesman on Health, Horace Dalley
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jul 11, CMC – The main opposition People’s National Party (PNP) Monday warned of a number of babies being born here with microcephaly as a result of the present number of cases of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in the country.

PNP spokesman on health, Horace Dalley, says the Andrew Holness government is failing to state its plan for the testing of women who do not fit the case profile and a policy to deal with the “looming” cases of microcephaly, a rare neurological condition in children.

He said the “lack of support for the upgraded virology lab,” had left pregnant women “untested and worried that their babies were likely to be born with microcephaly”.

Dalley said that the testing of these pregnant women is woefully inadequate and charged that all pregnant women need to be tested for the virus.

“Of the over 200 cases of pregnant women suspected with Zika, only five test results have been returned, the release said. Women are only being tested for the Zika virus when they fit the case profile. What about those pregnant women who have no symptoms, and those who are tested late?”

Dalley, a former health minister estimated that by September, pregnant women who may have contracted the Zika virus will start having babies with microcephaly, adding that “there are no antenatal systems in place to address these newborns”.

“We cannot predict how many of the over 200 cases or even the non-symptomatic pregnant women will unfortunately have microcephaly babies! The opposition maintains action is needed now,” he said in the statement.

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