Following reports of suspected Zika virus in Brazil, the health ministries of several Caribbean countries have issued advisories for the mosquito borne viral disease.On Thursday, the Jamaica Health Ministry issued an epidemiological alert after the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) noted the potential spread of this arbovirus across territories where the vectors (Aedes) are present.
The Aedes mosquito is present in much of the Americas and also transmits dengue fever and chikungunya.
In addition, Trinidad and Tobago health officials also issued an advisory, asking that citizens prepare for the mosquito-borne diseases that come with the approaching rainy season, including the Zika virus.
In early 2014, the first locally acquired transmission of Zika virus in the Americas was reported on Easter Island, according to the Chilean Ministry of Health.
Zika fever is caused by the Zika virus (ZIKAV), an arbovirus the flavivirus genus (family Flaviviridae), very close phylogenetically to viruses such as dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, or West Nile virus.
The Zika virus is transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Aedes, in urban areas (A. aegypti) as well as in the wild. After an infected mosquito bite, the disease symptoms usually appear following an incubation period of three to twelve days. Symptoms 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. Outbreaks have been seen since then in countries including the island of Yap (2007), French Polynesia (2013) and Brazil (2015).