Limited resources hampering American Samoa Zika fight

An epidemiologist from the US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta is discussing how to combat the spread of zika with American Samoan health officials.

Since zika was first discovered in the territory at the beginning of the year, the CDC has been sending teams to work with the Department of Health in identifying, treating and documenting cases.

The latest zika count for the territory is 776 suspected cases with 44 confirmed of whom 16 are pregnant women.

Local epidemiologist Magele Scott Anesi says 9 of the pregnant mothers diagnosed with zika have given birth and none of the babies show signs of microcephaly, which has been a condition detected in babies born to mothers who contracted zika in Brazil.

Dr Grry Farjardo, from the Emergency Preparedness and Response Branch at the CDC in Atlanta, says a major challenge is the lack of resources for activities such as testing blood samples.

The confirmed zika cases are tested off-island because the American Samoan Department of Health is struggling to afford testing all cases of people showing symptoms of the virus.

However public awareness about zika has grown significantly due to a government awareness drive.

Radio New Zealand