The patient who has now recovered is a four year old child from Portmore, St Catherine.
In a news release Saturday, the Ministry of Health said the child began showing symptoms on January 17 after earlier returning to Jamaica from travel to Texas in the United States.
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It’s unclear whether the child picked up the virus in Jamaica or Texas. The case is being investigated to determine the source of infection and the child’s parents and family have been contacted and briefed by a team from the Ministry of Health.
No other family member is ill at this time, the news release said.
The child was investigated at the Bustamante Hospital for Children and samples sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for testing on January 26, 2016. The ministry said it received the positive Zika virus test result from CARPHA late yesterday (Jan. 29).
As part of its investigations, the Ministry of Health has undertaken the necessary community interventions in and around the area where the child lives to determine whether there are other cases and has heightened vector control activities.
Minister of Health Horace Dalley will provide a full update to the nation at a press briefing to be held on Monday, February 1, 2016.
In the meantime, the ministry is advising people, particularly pregnant women, to take extra precaution to prevent being bitten by the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes which transmit the Zika virus.
There is adequate medication available in the public health system at this time to treat the symptoms of Zika virus infection in the event of additional cases being identified, the ministry said.
The virus has been associated with a sharp jump in the birth of babies with abnormally small heads, mainly in Brazil. It is also linked to increases in Guillain-Barre syndrome, in which the immune system attacks the nervous system, causing paralysis.
The mosquito-borne infection has been detected in some 24 countries and territories in the Americas since Brazil reported its first case in May, Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) said this week.
With all the commercial chemicals available to us today there seems to be more mosquito borne diseases around than a decade ago. Scientists attribute this in part to climate change. Other contributory factors include urbanisation, abuse of chemicals, resulting in insecticide resistance, and human habits and practices which favour the breeding of insects.
The mosquito can be not only annoying but there are those that can give you a terrible sting or bite. Not all species of mosquitoes are carriers of diseases but humans certainly know a lot about the characteristics and habits of the mosquito to avoid being bitten.
Several factors have contributed to the ease with which mosquito-borne diseases spread from continent to continent. Travel between countries by boat, airplane or across land crossings, has been cited as one of the reasons diseases, including mosquito-borne diseases, get introduced in regions of the world that did not previously detect these diseases.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), on May 7, 2015, issued an Epidemiological Alert recommending that Member States establish and maintain the capacity for Zika virus infection detection, clinical management and an effective public communication strategy to reduce the presence of the mosquito that transmits this disease and personal protection from the bites especially in areas where there is a predominance of mosquitoes.
Common symptoms of Zika virus fever are fever, rash which may be itchy, red eye, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, weakness and swollen lower limbs.
Other less common symptoms include pain behind the eyes, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.
Zika virus infection is non-specific and may present like other types of illnesses, including dengue, chikungunya, measles (fever and rash), malaria and leptospirosis.
For this reason the doctor will also order lab tests to confirm a specific diagnosis.
There are no vaccines currently available to prevent ZIKV infection. Treatment is symptomatic and involves fluids, rest, antipyretic and analgesic agents. The antipyretic and analgesic agent that is recommended is acetaminophen or paracetamol. Antihistamines may be used to relieve the symptoms of pruritus (itching) associated with the skin rash.