Puerto Rico’s health department recently reported the first locally acquired case of Zika virus infection, according to the CDC.
A Puerto Rican resident with no known travel history contracted the virus, the CDC said. In response, the CDC issued a travel notice that recommends people who travel to Puerto Rico protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing insect repellent, using air conditioning, or window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outdoors, wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts when possible and draining standing water both inside and outside of the home.
The CDC and local health department are investigating how the patient may have developed the infection.
“Outbreaks of Zika have occurred in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands,” the CDC said. “Because the Aedes species mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are found throughout the world, it is likely that outbreaks will spread to new countries. To date, Zika virus has been reported in several countries and territories in the Americas.”
Most recently, WHO confirmed Zika virus was detected in Panama, Honduras, Cape Verde, Paraguay, Venezuela and Mexico.
In November, Brazil’s Ministry of Health linked Zika virus infection to several deaths and an unusual increase in the number of cases of microcephaly, a condition that affects newborns in which the occipitofrontal circumference is smaller than average.
The relationship between Zika virus and microcephaly was based on test results that revealed the presence of Zika virus in blood and tissue samples from an infant born with microcephaly who died. An initial analysis suggests the risk for Zika virus infection is associated with the first 3 months of pregnancy, according to Brazil’s Ministry of Health.
As of Dec. 26, 2,975 suspected cases of microcephaly and 40 suspicious deaths were reported in 20 Brazilian states, including 656 municipalities.