NATION

Zika Testing Available Locally

  For the first time, Zika testing can finally be done here in Fiji instead of sending samples overseas. With 37 confirmed Zika cases in the country, the need for
02 Sep 2016 12:10
Zika Testing Available Locally
Debra Phillips (right) Senior Scientist Queensland of Technology assists Shalini Singh, Scientific officer, Fiji center for communicable disease control with first Zika virus test done in Fiji yesterday. Photo: RONALD KUMAR.

 

For the first time, Zika testing can finally be done here in Fiji instead of sending samples overseas.

With 37 confirmed Zika cases in the country, the need for early detection was very important, said Australian Senior Scientist, Debra Phillips.

The Brisbane-based scientist is in the country to help the introduction of testing vector borne diseases such as the Zika virus, dengue fever, and chikungunya virus (48 cases). All three diseases are spread by mosquitoes.

She said it was very important to have an early warning detection rather than sending samples abroad.

“With this testing, we can determine if someone is infected within hours rather than waiting for days or weeks for results from overseas,” Ms Phillips said.

Lab technician Shalini Singh said: “We are very excited about the testing as our turnaround time will be greatly reduced and we are able to provide better services for the people.

Surveillance medical officer, Jimaima Kailawadoko said that as a country, we are now able to respond better in controlling outbreaks and having more information about Zika.

The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing allows early detection of viruses from patient.

The PCR machine was donated by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Ms Phillips said there have about 700 tests ready to be made, which with the PCR machine, which she describes as historical for Fiji.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: mere.satakala@fijisun.com.fj

 



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