12-year-old girl first in the Caribbean to contract the Zika virus
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – The mosquito-borne Zika virus, also referred to as ZIKV, has now reached the Caribbean, with a 12-year-old girl in the Dominican Republic becoming the first person to contract the virus.
The pre-teen has been hospitalised in a private clinic.
This development comes a month after cases were reported in Brazil, prompting the Pan American Health Organization to issue a warning about its potential to spread to other countries.
Caribbean countries subsequently put their residents on alert.
The Zika virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same mosquito that transmits Chikungunya and dengue.
The virus is similar to dengue with symptoms that include fever, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis, headache, weakness, rash and swelling of the lower limbs.
After the bite of an infected mosquito, symptoms usually appear following the incubation period of three to 12 days. They last for four to seven days.
No deaths due to the Zika virus have been recorded worldwide to date.
The Zika Virus was first isolated in 1947 in a Rhesus monkey in the Zika Forest, Uganda. It was first isolated in humans in 1952 in Uganda and Tanzania.