May 22, 2016 News
A total of nine Zika Virus cases have been confirmed by the Vector Control Services Unit
of the Ministry of Public Health. This state of affairs has been revealed by Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, who revealed that the mosquito-transmitted virus has been linked to the Guillian-Barré Syndrome.
Based on medical reports, the Guillian-Barré Syndrome is a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. The first symptoms of this disorder include varying degrees of weaknesses or tingling sensations in the legs.
In many instances, it has been reported that the symmetrical weakness and abnormal sensation spread to the arms and upper body. These symptoms can increase in intensity until certain muscles cannot be used at all and when severe, the person is almost totally paralyzed.
Although he was unable to disclose the number of cases detected by the Ministry, Minister Norton divulged that “there has been an increase.”
The Minister was however not willing to link the detected cases of the disorder to the Zika Virus. “If I say so I would not be saying so on any scientific evidence,” asserted Minister Norton. “The fact that Guillian-Barré syndrome has been associated with Zika and that Zika is in Guyana and that there is an increase in the Guillian-Barré syndrome, one would want to deduce a relationship…But we don’t have any evidence of that.”
According to the information that has reached the Minister, an upsurge in the number of cases
has been gaining the attention of the public health system and this has resulted in severe stress on the limited resources of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
This development, according to the Minister, has caused the public hospital to transfer some of these patients to the privately operated Woodlands Hospital’s ICU.
However, the Minister has made it clear that persons who manifest symptoms of the disorder could still gain medical attention at the GPHC. This is in spite of the fact that caring for a patient with this disorder is very costly.
“The treatment is expensive but the hospital has got the means of acquiring whatever they need… Guillian-Barré syndrome has been around for the longest while – it is a neurological manifestation that starts from the lowest extremities and travels upwards,” said the Minister.
Moreover, he noted that the public health sector is well acquainted with the disorder and how to treat with it. “Anybody who requires medical assistance for this disorder can come to us,” said the Minister.
The case of a 21-year-old man, Pooran Ramcharitar, of Lot 42 Goed Bananen Land, East Canje Berbice was recently diagnosed. His father, Surendra Ramcharitar, said that he is soliciting help from the public and Government to purchase medications.
The father of six said that his son was diagnosed with the disorder at the Anamayah Memorial Hospital in Berbice. He was admitted to the GPHC on Sunday and is currently on a life support system, according to his father.
The injection needed to treat Ramcharitar’s ailment is a Human Immunoglobulin injection which is not available in Guyana. According to Health International Inc. the afflicted young man needs a quantity of 35 bottles at a cost of $75,000 each which will amount to $2,625,000. The father said he has made an advance payment of $1M and is pleading with the public and the Government to assist him with the remaining $1,625,000.
Anyone willing to assist the family can contact 326-1203 or 652-7044. The family has an account (745309-5) with Republic Bank Limited to which contributions can be made.
But according to Minister Norton while persons are free to seek help from outside of the public health sector hospital, it is not always advisable.
“The Ministry of Health has got systems in place for anybody who requires medical assistance in medical treatment. When persons go public it gives the impression that the Ministry of Health has not got things in place and that is not accurate at all,” said the Minister as he insisted that he is not aware that the father of the young man has sought assistance from his Ministry.
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