Cuba reports first case of Zika in Venezuelan doctor
HAVANA | BY MARC FRANK
Cuba reported its first case of Zika on Wednesday, diagnosed in a
28-year-old Venezuelan doctor whose husband and brother-in-law
previously contracted the virus in their home country.
The World Health Organization declared the Zika outbreak, suspected of
causing thousands of birth defects in Brazil, an international health
emergency on Feb. 1, although much about the virus remains unknown.
The patient arrived in Cuba on Feb. 21 to take a post-graduate course in
medicine along with 37 others.
She reported a fever a day later and was diagnosed with Zika on Monday.
She was recovering well in hospital, the Health Ministry said in a
statement on Wednesday.
Her husband was diagnosed with Zika two months ago and her brother two
weeks before she traveled, the statement said.
Zika is carried by mosquitoes, which transmit the virus to humans,
though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said on Feb. 23 it was
investigating possible cases of sexual transmission.
The outbreak has spread to many parts of Latin America and the Caribbean
and the WHO estimates Zika could eventually affect as many as four
million people in the region.
The Cuban government, which has fumigated neighborhoods and homes for
decades to contain dengue — also a mosquito-borne virus and a close
cousin of Zika — put doctors on alert for the virus weeks ago and
ramped up mosquito eradication efforts.
The WHO is investigating a “strongly suspected” relationship between
Zika and microcephaly, a condition marked by abnormally small head size.
There is no vaccine or treatment for the virus and some 80 percent of
people infected show no symptoms.
(Reporting by Marc Frank; Editing by Daniel Trotta and John Stonestreet)
Source: Cuba reports first case of Zika in Venezuelan doctor | Reuters –