WHO Updates Zika Virus Infection Case Count

On Nov. 27, 2015, the National IHR Focal Point of Venezuela received notification of seven suspected cases of Zika virus infection. The diagnoses were made by the national reference laboratory, the "Rafael Rangel" National Institute of Hygiene. Four samples tested positive for Zika virus by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The results were re-confirmed by Colombia’s National Institute of Health (INS). The cases, whose age ranges from 40 to 55 years old, are all women from areas that border Brazil. Venezuelan health authorities are implementing prevention and control measures. Investigations are ongoing.

On Nov. 26, 2015, national health authorities in Mexico notified PAHO/WHO of three cases of Zika virus infection, including two autochthonous cases (residents of Nuevo León and Chiapas) and one imported case (with history of travel to Colombia). The diagnoses were made by the national reference laboratory using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Mexican health authorities are implementing the corresponding prevention and control measures. Investigations are ongoing.

On Nov. 27, 2015, the National IHR Focal Point of Paraguay notified PAHO/WHO of six laboratory-confirmed autochthonous cases of Zika virus infection in the city of Pedro Caballero, which is located in the northeast of the country and shares borders with Brazil. The diagnoses were made by the national reference laboratory, the Central Public Health Laboratory of the Ministry of Health, through reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technique. Cases were identified from clusters of febrile patients whose samples tested negative for dengue and chikungunya. They presented with fever, headache, myalgia, arthralgia, retroocular pain and nausea. Their age ranges from 14 to 45 years old, and half of them are female. Cases have been managed on an outpatient basis in different health care services of the health care network. Investigations are ongoing.

Given the increased transmission of Zika virus in the Region of the Americas, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that its member states establish and maintain the capacity to detect and confirm cases of Zika virus infection, prepare their health services for a potential additional burden at all levels of health care, and implement an effective public communications strategy to reduce the mosquitoes that transmit this disease, particularly in areas where this vector is present.

Source: WHO

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