Former Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Doctor Stephen King, has asserted that many cases of the Zika virus that will not be reported, as there is no “good” test for the disease.
“We have been experimenting with a number of them but they are not working as well as we would like,” King told reporters.
He disclosed that the current test, which is antigen based, is only positive in the first three days of the viral infection.
According to King, the test is currently available for Saint Lucia at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), in Trinidad and Tobago.
“We intend to change that and see what we can do to bring testing on board,” the former CMO explained.
King observed that the current test for the Zika virus is a specialized laboratory exercise.
He noted that testing in the recent past was rather expensive, but is currently becoming far more affordable for individual laboratories and countries like Saint Lucia.
King noted that as a result, Saint Lucia is actively considering the possibility.
The former CMO was of the opinion that Saint Lucia must have a very comprehensive approach to Zika, including testing and mosquito control.
King asserted that the underlying cause of Zika is poor vector control.
“There is no doubt we have to have national mobilization for mosquito control and that means the Ministry of Health needs to lead the way to mobilize the communities to reduce the mosquito population.”
King stated that although mosquitoes are in every community, the communities most affected are actually the poorer ones where, among other things, there is greater population density.