Cuba reports first case of imported Zika virus
HAVANA, March 2 (Xinhua) -- Cuba's Public Health Ministry (Minsap) reported on Wednesday the country's first case of Zika virus detected in a visiting Venezuelan doctor who is pursuing a graduate degree in gastroenterology there.
According to the official statement, the 28-year-old doctor arrived in Cuba on Feb. 21 from Aragua, Venezuela, and is staying at a student residence in Cuba's Artemisa province, near Havana.
The woman and 37 other doctors are under epidemiological surveillance, as part of the country's health measures.
The patient began to show symptoms the day after arriving, including mild fever of 37.5 degrees Celsius. The next night, a rash broke out on her face and upper body, and she suffered from some joint pain. She was hospitalized on Feb. 24 at the Pedro Kouri Institute of Tropical Medicine, where she still remains.
However, since testing positive on Feb. 29, the doctor appears to be recovering from her symptoms, with the rash disappearing, said the ministry.
Her husband had been diagnosed with Zika two months ago, and her brother-in-law came down with the mosquito-borne disease two weeks before her trip.
Zika is not considered contagious, though there have been several suspected cases of sexual transmission. It has also been linked to brain deformities in the fetus and a form of temporary paralysis known as Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Since first being reported in Brazil in the second half of 2015, Zika has spread rapidly throughout Latin America, but Cuba had so far been spared.
Known for its world-class public health system, Cuba has traditionally taken a preventive approach to similar threats. Despite having no endemic cases of Zika, the government mobilized 9,000 soldiers and 200 police officers in its campaign to locate and destroy the potential breeding grounds of the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits Zika, as well as dengue and Chikunguya.